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Stackyard News Aug 07

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Statement from Hilary Benn in response to HSE initial report

Since the start of this outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease, the Government’s two priorities have been to contain its spread and to discover how it may have started.


Having quickly put restrictions in place last Friday, the Chief Veterinary Officer and her team have been working to identify any further cases and to adjust restrictions in response to the facts. In addition, epidemiological investigations continue. There are now two confirmed cases, and the process of inspecting and testing animals within the Protection Zones is continuing.

With the exception of the second case, confirmed this morning, no other cases have so far been identified. We are determined to control and eradicate this disease as soon as possible. I would ask the farming community, as it has done throughout, to maintain vigilance, and report any concerns whatsoever to Animal Health.

Following the confirmation on 4th August that the strain of virus found in the first case was not recently circulating in animals, but was held at both the Institute for Animal Health and Merial Animal Health Ltd – both on the Pirbright site – I asked the HSE to investigate. I have now received their ‘Initial Report of potential breaches to bio-security at the Pirbright Site 2007’.

The report indicates that there was a negligible combined likelihood of an airborne release of virus from either site. The likelihood of a direct waterborne link between the infected farm and the shared site is also negligible. But further investigation is being carried out into the drainage on the Pirbright site. Release by human movement - which the report describes as a real possibility – will now be investigated further as a matter of urgency. This will involve further interviews with personnel at the site, I have asked for a further report on these investigations as soon as possible.

I note that there is no reason to prevent IAH from operating and I await the results of the further investigations at Merial.

Following the confirmation of the second case within the larger main Protection Zone, and the ongoing investigations, the Chief Veterinary Officer, Debby Reynolds, has recommended to me that footpaths be now closed in this zone. I have agreed that this should happen with immediate effect.

Finally, I would like to thank the HSE team and others for their work, the staff of Animal Health, Defra and others for their swift and sterling efforts to control this outbreak, and the farming community for their continued support and forbearance at this difficult time.

link NFU, NSA, NPA, LAA and NBA Joint Statement on Animal Movements
link Roger Pride gives press conference on FMD outbreak
link Second FMD Case in Surrey - NFU Scotland Reaction

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