Orifice through which food and air enter the body. It opens to the outside at the lips and empties into the throat at the rear and is bounded by the lips, cheeks, hard and soft palates, and glottis. Its chief structures are the teeth (see tooth), tongue, and palate. It is the site of chewing and speech formation. The mouth is lined by mucous membranes containing small glands that, along with the salivary glands, keep it moist and clear of food and other debris.
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Highly contagious viral disease of cloven-footed mammals (including cattle), spread by ingestion and inhalation. The afflicted animal develops fever and painful blisters on the tongue, lips, other tissues of the mouth, muzzle or snout, teats, and feet. FMD is endemic in many places. Because of its rapid spread and impact on animal productivity, it is considered the most economically devastating livestock disease in the world. It is not a human health hazard. No effective treatment exists; vaccines control epidemics but have not eliminated them. Since the virus can persist, quarantine, slaughter, cremation or burial of carcasses, and decontamination must be rigorous. Strict surveillance has kept North America largely FMD-free since 1929. In early 2001 a major outbreak occurred in the United Kingdom, followed shortly by outbreaks in The Netherlands and France.
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