Foot and mouth disease flying on the wind?

UK - Although tests carried out by biosafety experts in Britain have revealed the strain of foot and mouth disease found in cattle is the same as that used in vaccine production at a nearby animal health research facility, no apparent breach of biosecurity measures has been found.
calendar icon 6 August 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
The farm is outside Wanborough, 30 miles southwest of London, and cattle there have tested positive for the disease; all livestock at the farm have been slaughtered along with animals at a second farm nearby.

According to the agriculture department the fact that there had been no movement of livestock from the affected farm since July 10th offers hope that the situation can be contained.

The Government-funded Institute, the Pirbright animal health facility is dedicated to eradicating the devastating animal disease and is about 4 miles away from the affected farm. The agriculture department says the particular strain of the highly infectious disease discovered there was identical to one used at the lab and had not recently been seen in live animals.

This is the first case in Britain of foot and mouth disease since 2001; then 7 million cattle were culled and burned on huge pyres in rural areas. The outbreak devastated the farming industry and rural tourism was also badly affected.

The research facility is a joint venture operated by the Government-funded Institute of Animal Health and the private pharmaceutical company Merial Animal Health and both say checks have not revealed any breaches that might have led to the strain being transmitted to the cattle.

According to Martin Shirley, director of the Institute, the Institute operates under strict bio-security procedures licensed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and stringent checks have shown no breaches of procedures and records indicate limited use within the lab over the past month.

He said the Institute was continuing to co-operate with DEFRA in tracing the source of the infection, which was discovered on the farm near the village of Normandy.

David Biland, Managing Director of Merial in the UK, says Merial is fully co-operating with the government to determine the source of the disease. The company has suspended production of the vaccine while the investigation into the foot and mouth outbreak is underway and a three-kilometre protection zone around the farm has been revised to include Pirbright; there is also a ten-kilometre surveillance zone.
© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.