The epidemiology of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Africa is unique in the sense that six of the seven serotypes of FMD viruses (Southern African Territories [SAT] 1, SAT2, SAT3, A, O, and C), with the exception of Asia-1, have occurred in the last decade. Due to underreporting of FMD, the current strains circulating throughout sub-Saharan Africa are in many cases unknown. For SAT1, SAT2, and serotype A viruses, the genetic diversity is reflected in antigenic variation, and indications are that vaccine strains may be needed for each topotype. This has serious implications for control using vaccines and for choice of strains to include in regional antigen banks. The epidemiology is further complicated by the fact that SAT1, SAT2, and SAT3 viruses are maintained and spread by wildlife, persistently infecting African buffalo in particular.
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