Second-instar maggots
Old World Screwworm

Today, the introduction of a foreign animal disease into the United States or Florida is more a probability than a possibility. Free-market economies are expanding worldwide. Animals and animal products move around the globe in unprecedented numbers. As Florida's participation in domestic and international markets increases, so does the potential for a foreign animal disease outbreak.

Amblyomma variegatum nymph

With 12 major seaports, 20 commercial airports, and hundreds of smaller airfields, Florida's borders are extremely porous. 120 million commercial and general aviation passengers, including 75 million foreign tourists and their luggage, arrive in the state each year. Today, both known and newly emerging diseases could appear just as easily in the middle of the state as at one of the border ports of inspection. A livestock producer or animal owner who might never have travelled more than 100 miles from home could suddenly find at his doorstep a foreign animal disease from the other side of the world.

One of the most effective ways to protect Florida's animal industries from devastating diseases is through early detection. But since they often resemble many other diseases, foreign animal diseases are often difficult to diagnosis. Florida's livestock producers, animal owners and veterinarians act as the first line of defense. Because of their daily contact with animals, their ability to recognize some of the suspicious signs of foreign animal diseases is critical:

  • Sudden, unexplained death loss in the herd or flock.
  • Severe illness affecting a high percentage of the animals.
  • Abortions in otherwise healthy, well-vaccinated herds
  • Blistering, erosions, or ulcers around an animal's mouth, nose, teats, or hooves.
  • Staggering, falling or central nervous system disorders.
  • Or unusual ticks or maggots.

Prompt reporting of any suspicious animal disease is critical to safeguarding Florida's animal industries. Anyone who has knowledge of, or suspects the existence of any listed disease or pests that might result in high animal loss, economic damage, or are suspected of causing human disease, should immediately contact the office of the State Veterinarian or the local USDA-APHIS Veterinary Services office." See Contact Page for more information.

bovine FMD oral lesions

equine lingual lesions

equine severe oral lesions