Portraits of Plague

It is called 'fièvre aphteuse' in France, 'fiebre aftosa' in Spain, 'Maul-und-Klauenseuche' in Germany and 'mundog klovsyge' in Denmark. It is harmless to humans and does not even kill most infected animals. Yet foot-and-mouth disease was arousing anxiety throughout the world last week, and the virus that causes the ailment in pigs, sheep and cattle was closing borders, destroying livelihoods and bringing to a standstill much of the world's trade in beef, pork and lamb.

"We are on red alert," said Chuck Lambert, chief economist at the U.S. National Cattlemen's Beef Association as Department of Agriculture inspectors...

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