This study was conducted to investigate the presence of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) in different geographic locations of Tanzania. Epithelial tissues and fluids (n = 364) were collected from cattle exhibiting oral and foot vesicular lesions suggestive of FMD and submitted for routine FMD diagnosis. The analysis of these samples collected during the period of 2002 and 2010 was performed by serotype-specific antigen capture ELISA to determine the presence of FMDV. The results of this study indicated that 167 out of 364 (46.1%) of the samples contained FMDV antigen. Of the 167 positive samples, 37 (28.4%) were type O, 7 (4.1%) type A, 45 (21.9%) SAT 1 and 79 (45.6%) SAT 2. Two FMDV serotypes (O and SAT 2) were widely distributed throughout Tanzania whilst SAT 1 and A types were only found in the Eastern zone. Our findings suggest that serotypes A, O, SAT 1 and SAT 2 prevail in Tanzania and are associated with the recent FMD outbreaks. The lack of comprehensive animal movement records and inconsistent vaccination programmes make it difficult to determine the exact source of FMD outbreaks or to trace the transmission of the disease over time. Therefore, further collection and analysis of samples from domestic and wild animals are being undertaken to investigate the genetic and antigenic characteristics of the circulating strains, so that a rational method to control FMD in Tanzania and the neighbouring countries can be recommended.
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