Sampling the environment is an effective way to detect foot and mouth disease, according to a paper published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The sampling method, swabbing environmental surfaces where livestock is kept, can be easily performed and can detect viral genetic material that can persist in the environment well beyond the time that livestock ceases to manifest clinical signs of disease. In the study, the investigators took swabs from numerous environmental surfaces on each of 24 smallholder farms at nine different sites in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, where local veterinary technicians had identified clinical signs of the disease in livestock. Most of the farms in the study were “a family’s house and the small amount of land around the house where they keep their animals,” said first author, Claire Colenutt, PhD, explaining that these were subsistence farmers, “who might have a couple of cows and a couple of goats.” Click here to read more on sampling methods for disease identification. – Science Daily