USA Lab Joins Hunt For Spreaders Of Brucellosis

NORTERHN IRELAND, UK - Samples from the brucellosis infected foetus maliciously dumped on a County Armagh farm will also be sent to top American scientists for analysis, announced Agriculture Minister, Michelle Gildernew.
calendar icon 25 January 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

The Minister told a farmers’ meeting in Laurencetown, County Armagh: “My veterinary officers now have ever more sophisticated processes available to allow them to explore in detail the disease links between herds. The diagnostic techniques developed by AFBI will be applied to samples now and in the future. An underlying strength of this technology is that it can also be applied to samples taken years ago - indeed our data-bank of brucellosis samples goes back over 10 years.”

Minister Gildernew said: “There are dramatic and ongoing developments in relation to this cutting-edge technology. AFBI scientists are taking this forward with international experts, including scientists in the United States of America. AFBI have recently submitted a number of our brucellosis strains to the USA for detailed analyses and investigation.

“We are undertaking the necessary protocol arrangements to send the strain from the aborted foetus for similar analyses. However, as this is an ongoing investigation, you will understand why I am not able to comment further on the specifics of the ongoing investigation and the scientific analyses.”

She also revealed that the farmer whose animals were attacked with the infected material has now had his entire herd of 83 cattle compulsorily slaughtered as a precaution against further spread of the disease.

The Minister said the family affected by the attack had her sincere sympathy and she could appreciate the hurt and anguish they are going though at this time.

Other farmers in the area would also be inconvenienced to a considerable extent as herd tests are carried out, and she requested their ongoing support and understanding.

The Minister appealed to farmers on the ground, and indeed to anyone with any information about this scurrilous act, to report it directly to her, to the DARD Divisional Veterinary Office, or to the PSNI.

She said: “No effort will be spared in this case. We simply will not tolerate this type of attack on our farming community and are determined that those responsible will pay a very high penalty indeed."

The Minister told the meeting that the find by the farmer of a formerly frozen and infected carcase, which had been opened from belly to throat, and had meal placed in the cavity to encourage cattle to come in contact with it, had shocked the farming community. It had been placed in the field where cattle were grazing.

The Minister added that last August there was a case in which a brucellosis reactor animal was moved illegally from a farm and another animal substituted. Again, DNA science has a vital part to play.

Other topics discussed at the meeting included bovine TB, CAP Reform, Conacre and Inheritance tax, the dairy sector and delivery of DARD services. Moving on from agricultural matters the Minister also reaffirmed her commitment to a Rural White Paper and to working with other government departments to find solutions to issues affecting people and places in rural areas.

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