News 788 views last update:Aug 9, 2007

FMD likely caused by human mistake

The recent outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in the British county of Surrey is very likely caused by a human mistake.

It is also thought that the source of the FMD in the South of England is one of the two nearby laboratories, located in Pirbright. It's thought impossible that the virus would be transmitted through air or waste water.

These results were made public by the British Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in a first report on the relationship between the two laboratories and the outbreak.

Two farms
The disease has been confirmed in cattle at two farms in the neighbourhood now. All the animals have been culled and safety zones around the affected farms have been installed.

No pigs have been found infected, but as the disease can affect pigs, sheep and goats, trade and transport bans imposed on the UK affect many companies in the livestock industry.

The inspection said that both institutes have been using that specific FMD strain in the last month.

At the Institute for Animal Health was that only several milliltres, however, vaccine producer Merial Animal Health used over 10,000 litres.

More research
The report suggests that more research needs to be done to the situation at the company's laboratory prior to the institute getting back to work. This means that Merial would not be able to meet the demand by the British government, that asked for the delivery of 300,000 FMD vaccines.

Meanwhile, the British government lifted the transport ban for livestock in Scotland, so there the animals can be transported to the abattoir again.

Related websites:
• Merial Animal Health
• Institute for Animal Health
• British Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

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