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Stackyard News Aug 07

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Second case of Foot and Mouth Disease suspected in Protection Zone 06/08/07

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 (FMD).

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galloway cattle

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.
  • The 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.

link Scottish Farmers on High Alert as FMD Restrictions Hit Hard
link FMD Outbreak - “A Cruel Blow”
link Foot and Mouth Disease Strain Link to Vaccine Lab

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