Alberta Agriculture is warning farmers and ranchers hosting visitors from countries affected with foot and mouth disease (FMD) or planning travel to affected countries to be especially vigilant about biosecurity.
The warning follows FMD outbreaks in South Korea, Japan, mainland China and Vietnam.
Travellers entering Canada are required to declare all food, plants, animals and animal products. Animal products originating from FMD countries may be prohibited. Fresh and prepared meat products, embryos, semen, milk, hair, leather goods and skins from susceptible species can potentially carry FMD unless processed in a way to destroy the virus.
Travellers should ensure all clothing and footwear worn during visits abroad are free from soil or manure. Clothes should be dry-cleaned and, if dry-cleaning is not an option, they can be thoroughly washed and dried at high temperatures. Footwear should be disinfected before visiting any farm, zoo or park.
A general recommendation is to avoid contact with farm animals, zoos or wildlife for a period of seven to 14 days after returning to Canada. Although domestic pets are not susceptible to FMD, CFIA recommends taking precautions for pets travelling from an FMD infected country. On return to Canada, pets should be thoroughly shampooed to eliminate any virus clinging to their coats.