Debby Reynolds, the British government’s chief veterinary officer, has announced that the Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) virus, found in cattle in the county of Surrey last week, is likely to have spread more than three weeks ago.
Reynolds said that the FMD outbreak spread to the newly discovered area before the UK was declared free of the disease.
The cattle culled at the the latest stricken farm, The Klondyke, at Virginia Water, carried lesions that were more than ten days old.
Both cattle and sheep from the farm also had antibodies for the virus, which shows the infection is as old as three weeks.
As pigs are susceptible for FMD as well, any transport ban related to FMD, is bound to affect the British pig industry as well.
The UK has faced five cases of FMD since the beginning of August. Two farms near laboratories near the town of Pirbright were found infected in August – and only hours after any FMD-related ban was lifted last week, more cases were reported.
Up until now, altogether, five locations have been found infected.
In another suspected case of the virus, in a bull in Solihull, in the West Midlands, about 170 km north of Surrey, tests proved negative for FMD, the British Department of Environment, Forestry and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said.
The temporary control zone there has been lifted.
â€¢ Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
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