Lab biosecurity not the cause of FMD outbreak
There is nothing wrong with the laboratory's biosecurity measures, according
to Professor Martin Shirley from the Institute of Animal Health (IAH) in
Pirbright. He was speaking after the government revealed the strain of foot and
mouth disease identified in Surrey, Southern England last week was strongly
linked to a nearby vaccine laboratory.
Government vets said the strain is identical to that
used at the IAH and Merial Animal Health pharmaceutical company at a site 3km
away from the affected cattle farm. According to the Department for Environment,
Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) the strain, first confirmed on Friday, is not
found in animals but has similarities with those used in international
diagnostic laboratories and vaccine production.Increased
Merial has voluntarily agreed to halve vaccine production and
enlarged protection and surveillance zones of 3km and 10km respectively have
been set up encompassing both sites.
Debby Reynolds, the government's chief
veterinary officer, has also ordered an "urgent" independent review into
bio-security arrangements at both sites, while the Health Protection Agency
(HPA) is taking "immediate action" with an investigation into the IAH and
Prime minister Gordon Brown has chaired two Cobra emergency
meetings on the issue so far, and he is due to hold another one today after
cutting short his holiday in Dorset.2001 outbreak
In 2001 a foot and
outbreak in England and Wales wreaked havoc with the country's tourism
and agriculture industries, reportedly costing the UK more than Â£8.5 billion as
seven million farm animals were culled.
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