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Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is highly contagious and one of the most economically devastating diseases of cloven-hoofed animals. Scientific-based preparedness about how to best control the disease in a previously FMD-free country is therefore essential for veterinary services. The present study used a spatial, stochastic epidemic simulation model to compare the effectiveness of emergency vaccination with conventional (non-vaccination) control measures in Switzerland, a low-livestock density country. Model results revealed that emergency vaccination with a radius of 3 km or 10 km around infected premises (IP) did not significantly reduce either the cumulative herd incidence or epidemic duration if started in a small epidemic situation where the number of IPs is still low. However, in a situation where the epidemic has become extensive, both the cumulative herd incidence and epidemic duration are reduced significantly if vaccination were implemented with a radius of 10 km around IPs. The effect of different levels of conventional strategy measures was also explored for the non-vaccination strategy. It was found that a lower compliance level of farmers for movement restrictions and delayed culling of IPs significantly increased both the cumulative IP incidence and epidemic duration. Contingency management should therefore focus mainly on improving conventional strategies, by increasing disease awareness and communication with stakeholders and preparedness of culling teams in countries with a livestock structure similar to Switzerland; however, emergency vaccination should be considered if there are reasons to believe that the epidemic may become extensive, such as when disease detection has been delayed and many IPs are discovered at the beginning of the epidemic.