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Foot and Mouth Disease strain identified

by 5m Editor
4 August 2007, at 8:14pm

UK - The FMD strain found in Surrey is not one currently known to be recently found in animals, reports Defra.

It is most similar to strains used in international diagnostic laboratories and in vaccine production, including at the Pirbright site shared by the Institute of Animal Health (IAH) and Merial Animal Health Ltd, a pharmaceutical company. The present indications are that this strain is a 01 BFS67 – like virus, isolated in the 1967 Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in Great Britain.

This strain is present at the IAH and was used in a batch manufactured in July 2007 by the Merial facility. On a precautionary basis Merial has agreed to voluntarily halt vaccine production.

In response to this new information Debby Reynolds, Chief Veterinary Officer has instructed that a new single Protection Zone be created encompassing both the infected farm premises and the Pirbright site, with a single 10km radius Surveillance Zone.

Immediate action is being taken with an investigation led by the Health and Safety Executive at the Institute for Animal Health and Merial.

In addition an urgent independent review into biosecurity arrangements at both sites has been commissioned led by Professor Brian Spratt of Imperial University. It will report to Hilary Benn and Debby Reynolds.

This incident remains at an early stage. It is too soon to reach any firm conclusions. All potential sources of the virus will continue to be investigated. All other precautionary measures announced yesterday remain in place.

5m Editor