Vaccine link to foot and mouth outbreak

UK - The strain of foot and mouth outbreak identified in Surrey last week has been strongly linked to a nearby vaccine laboratory, the government has revealed.
calendar icon 5 August 2007
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Government vets said the strain is identical to that used at the Institute of Animal Health (IAH) and Merial Animal Health pharmaceutical company at a site in Pirbright 3km away from the affected cattle farm.

According to the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) the strain, first confirmed on Friday, is not found in animals but has similarities with those used in international diagnostic laboratories and vaccine production.

"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," the department said.

Merial has voluntarily agreed to halve vaccine production and enlarged protection and surveillance zones of 3km and 10km respectively have been set up encompassing both sites.

Debby Reynolds, the government's chief veterinary officer, has also ordered an "urgent" independent review into bio-security arrangements at both sites, while the Health Protection Agency (HPA) is taking "immediate action" with an investigation into the IAH and Merial.

"This incident remains at an early stage," a Defra statement said. "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."

Source: InTheNews
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