Transbound Emerg Dis. 2019 Feb 10. doi: 10.1111/tbed.13146. [Epub ahead of print]

Armson B1,2, Wadsworth J1, Kibona T3,4, Mshanga D5, Fowler VL1, Knowles NJ1, Mioulet V1, Reeve R2, King DP1, Bachanek-Bankowska K1, Lembo T2.

Author information

1. The Pirbright Institute, Pirbright, Surrey, UK.
2. Boyd Orr Centre for Population and Ecosystem Health, Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.
3. Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania.
4. Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, Arusha, Tanzania.
5. Tanzania Veterinary Laboratory Agency, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Arusha, Tanzania.


Under-reporting of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) masks the true prevalence in parts of the world where the disease is endemic. Laboratory testing for the detection of FMD virus (FMDV) is usually reliant upon the collection of vesicular epithelium and fluid samples that can only be collected from acutely infected animals, and therefore animals with sub-clinical infection may not be identified. Milk is a non-invasive sample type routinely collected from dairy farms that has been utilized for surveillance of a number of other diseases. The aim of this study was to examine the application of milk as an alternative sample type for FMDV detection and typing, and to evaluate milk as a novel approach for targeted surveillance of FMD in East Africa. FMDV RNA was detected in 73/190 (38%) individual milk samples collected from naturally infected cattle in northern Tanzania. Furthermore, typing information by lineage-specific rRT-PCR assays was obtained for 58% of positive samples, and corresponded with the virus types identified during outbreak investigations in the study area. The VP1-coding sequence data obtained from milk samples corresponded with the sequence data generated from paired epithelial samples collected from the same animal. This study demonstrates that milk represents a potentially valuable sample type for FMDV surveillance and might be used to overcome some of the existing biases of traditional surveillance methods. However, it is recommended that care is taken during sample collection and testing to minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination. Such approaches could strengthen FMDV surveillance capabilities in East Africa, both at the individual animal and herd level.


East-Africa; Tanzania; foot-and-mouth disease virus; milk; real-time RT-PCR; surveillance



Download Full Text