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More foot and mouth disease at Merial Animal Health

A new outbreak of foot and mouth disease is reported at the facility run by Merial Animal Health at the Pirbright scientific research centre

A new outbreak of foot and mouth disease has been reported at the facility run by Merial Animal Health at the Pirbright scientific research centre.

Operations at the plant were immediately stopped when the leak was detected and citric acid was used to disinfect any traces of virus which might have leaked from waste pipes.

It has been confirmed that the virus, which leaked from a faulty valve has been contained within the drainage system, meaning that contamination to farm animals is very unlikely.

Hilary Benn, Rural Affairs Secretary, revealed in the House of Commons that there had been no release of the virus to the environment.

Merial informed the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs about the incident on 20 November and the company's operating licence has been again suspended.

Previously, the previous outbreak was traced back to the UK government-run laboratory, while Merial was cleared of any involvement.

Merial Animal health was formed in a joint venture between Rhone Merieux (now sanofi-aventis) and Merck, Sharpe and Dohme AgVet, a division of US-based pharmaceutical company, Merck & Co.

30th September 2008

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