FAO World Reference
Laboratory for
Foot-and-Mouth Disease

Similar Diseases



  Hoof-and-Mouth Disease?

Some definitions...

Hoof: a curved covering of horn that protects the front of or encloses the ends
of the digits of an ungulate mammal and that corresponds to a nail or claw.

Cloven hoof: a foot divided into two parts at its distal extremity.

Ungulate: having hooves.


"Foot-and-mouth disease" vs "hoof and mouth disease"

It has been usual in North America to refer to foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) as "hoof and mouth disease". Ungulates have hooves (which are a protective covering of the end of the digits) on their feet. Foot-and-mouth disease does not infect the hooves, but rather the tissues close to them. This may result in loosening of the hoof from the surrounding tissue. Since the hoof consists of dead material it cannot become infected with a virus. Hence the name "hoof and mouth disease" would be inaccurate.

Foot-and-mouth disease is the internationally recognized (English language) name of the disease and Foot-and-mouth disease virus is the species name designated by the International Committee for the Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV).

N.J. Knowles, 03 March 2001