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Foot and mouth surfaces again

A new foot and mouth outbreak is confirmed in the UK just days after the government declared the county free from the disease

A new foot and mouth outbreak has been confirmed in the UK just days after the government declared the county free from the disease.

In the latest outbreak located in Egham in the county of Surrey, a pre-emptive cull of cattle had already begun even before the case was confirmed by laboratory tests.

A 10km control zone has been set up around the outbreak area to stop the disease spreading. The EU has shelved plans to lift the export ban on livestock products from the area around the original outbreak.

In August 2007, an investigation blamed the original outbreak on a leaking pipe at the Pirbright animal research site, which hosts the Institute of Animal Health (IAH) and Merial labs.

Merial is a private company owned by US-based Merck and French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis, while the IAH labs are owned and operated by the UK government.

The Merial site was found to be modern and well maintained and had no problem with biosecurity. The IAH laboratory, however, was an ageing facility and due to be replaced.

In a separate Health and Safety Executive report, it was ìhighly likelyî the virus entered a drainage system shared by IAH and Merial.

The investigation revealed that leaks in the pipes combined with heavy rains could have allowed the virus to reach the surface where vehicles carried it outside the facility.

30th September 2008

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