As part of their surveillance activity within the larger Protection
Zone in Surrey, Animal Health have identified a further herd
of cattle which have clinical signs of Foot and Mouth Disease
Debby Reynolds, Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), has therefore
ordered their slaughter on suspicion of FMD. Animal Health staff
are on site and the cull of the animals will begin as soon as
practicable. Samples have been taken to the laboratory for testing
to confirm disease.
CVO Debby Reynolds said:
“The intensive work of Animal Health has meant that we
have been able to rapidly identify this suspect case and take
appropriate action swiftly. I continue to urge all animal keepers
to be vigilant for signs of disease and practice strict biosecurity.”
Earlier today, Chief Veterinary Officer Debby
Reynolds set out latest progress on tackling the Foot and
Mouth Disease outbreak.
Key points set out by Debby Reynolds include:
- There is currently
one Infected Premises. This had animals on three sites. There
are two Protection Zones, one of which encompasses Pirbright
and the site where the original infected animals were identified.
The second Protection Zone encompasses the site where infection
was subsequently found. A large Surveillance Zone of 10 kilometres
surrounds the two Protection Zones.
- The cull is now complete.
A total of 97 animals have been culled - 64 from the infected
premises, plus 33 from two dangerous contact premises. The
carcasses have been disposed of by incineration.
- A major communication
effort has been under way in the area. Telephone contact has
been made with all known premises in the Protection Zones and
approximately 500 packs containing leaflets and letters have
been delivered to all known premises in the Protection Zones
and most of the premises in the Surveillance Zone. The Defra
helpline (08459 335577) is open from 06h00 to 22h00 every day.
HSE-led investigation is progressing rapidly and initial reports
are expected imminently. Professor Brian Spratt will begin
his review into biosecurity arrangements at the Pirbright site
tomorrow. Included in the evidence will be the outcome of the
immediate investigation currently being carried out by officials
from the HSE, Defra, and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.
- As part of Defra’s contingency plan and in order to ensure
full preparedness, 300,000 doses of strain-specific vaccine
have been ordered from the UK’s vaccine bank, to be made
up from antigen. No decision has been taken on whether or not
to use the vaccine.
Debby Reynolds said:
“All of us share the same aim - to eradicate FMD and to
minimise the impact on the countryside, farmers and rural communities.
We will continue to do all that is necessary to achieve that.
“In line with contingency planning arrangements, we have
ordered vaccine production and for vaccination teams to move
into the area, this is not an indication that a decision has
been taken to vaccinate. It has not.
“Production of vaccine will be carried out at the Merial
laboratory, obviously we would not be doing this without careful
consideration and assessment of the risks. Producing vaccine
from antigen does not involve use of live virus. We are working
very closely with the HSE and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate
regarding any work at Merial, and they are satisfied that it
does not affect their investigation.”
Debby Reynolds also paid tribute to the large number of people
who worked tirelessly since the outbreak was identified, including
Animal Health, operational partners and key stakeholders.
And she stressed that the countryside and footpaths remain open.
Whilst some parks, safari parks and other wildlife centres have
taken the decision to close or restrict access, neither Defra
nor the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is advising that
such action is necessary.
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