FMD Report Indicates Strong Link With Lab

UK - A second report is due today on Britain's foot and mouth outbreak, after an initial probe suggested human activity at a laboratory as the most likely cause.
calendar icon 8 August 2007
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Surrey: Facility is 5km from where the disease was confirmed

The Health and Safety Executive has said there was a 'strong probability' the leaked strain came from the Pirbright site south-west of London, adding it was a 'real possibility' that human movement spread the disease to two nearby farms.

The chance of foot and mouth being spread by flooding or aerial transmission was dismissed as 'negligible'.

AdvertisementUK Environment Secretary Hilary Benn admitted the government had to consider the possibility of deliberate human contamination.

The report did not blame either of the organisations which share Pirbright, the state-funded Institute for Animal Health and the private animal pharmaceutical firm Merial.

But it found the out-of-circulation disease strain, first confirmed in cattle Friday, was being worked on last month in 'large scale production' involving 10,000 litres by vaccine-producing Merial.

It was also involved in 'small scale experiment' by the IAH.

The second report is expected to clarify further how the virus got to cattle which were grazing near Pirbright.

The facility is 5km from the farm where foot and mouth was initially confirmed.

Source: RTE
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