UK: FMD: End to costly slaughter?
Researchers at the Institute for Animal Health (IAH),
Pirbright are apparently close to a breakthrough which could stop outbreaks of
foot-and-mouth disease turning into unnecessary and expensive
Government policy in the UK in 2001 was to slaughter animals within 24 hours
of a vet diagnosis based on symptoms of FMD.
For confirmation, samples were dispatched to the IAH's Pirbright Lab, in Surrey
which usually took a day to arrive. At this stage, a mass culling would have
occurred. At around 23% of the premises where the culling took place, FMD was
According to Juliet Dukes, a molecular biologist and senior research
scientist at Pirbright, "we learned from 2001 that we need a fast and reliable
diagnostic technique to be used by non-specialists on the farms where an
infection was suspected".
Small traces FMD
She continued stating that devices need
to be sensitive to detect even tiny traces of the FMD virus during the early
stages of infection in order to prevent the consequences of a false negative
In addition, diagnostic equipment must be cheap in order to be disposed after
each test to prevent time consuming sterilisation.
Dr Dukes is part of a team developing a technique called Loop Mediated
Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) for FMD detection in the field.
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