Last suspect cases prove ‘negative’ for FMD

15-08-2007 | |

Initial results on two suspected cases of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in the British counties of Kent and Surrey have proved negative.

That was announced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) after tests had been carried out on suspect animals at farms in Romney Marsh and at Chessington World of Adventures.

Government vets say that additional testing is necessary before they can be certain of the results.

England has received a lot of attention in the last two weeks due to an outbreak of FMD at two farms in the county of Surrey.

Fears for a repetition of 2001, during which millions of livestock had to be killed, proved not realistic however, as the disease did not spread.

Still, in the UK most of the livestock industry came to a standstill and exports were banned temporarily.

Two institutes in Surrey, both experimenting with a live strain of FMD, were identified to be possible sources of the infection. One of them belongs to the British Animal Health Institute, the other to Merial Animal Health.

So far it remains unclear however, what the exact cause is.

A law firm already accused the British government of a cover-up over the FMD outbreak ‘in order to avoid a multimillion-pound legal claim from local farmers’.

Government officials have reacted with frustration in order to find the exact cause quickly.

French farm minister Michel Barnier recommended easing a ban on the movement of live animals and animal products from the UK.

The recommendation was made less than a week after the European Commission’s clampdown to prevent the spread of FMD.

Animal transports in the Netherlands have been allowed again as from today.

Related websites:
• Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
• Merial
• British Institute for Animal Health 
• Chessington World of Adventures

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