FMD outbreak caused by aging drainage system?

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Monday, September 10, 2007

UK agency concludes recent FMD outbreak may have been caused by an aging drainage system at government facility.

The United Kingdom’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) yesterday released its final report on an August foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in Britain, concluding that the outbreak may have been caused by an aging drainage system at a government site where the virus was handled.

The strain that affected livestock August 3 in the Surrey area surrounding the Institute of Animal Health was a laboratory strain not normally found in the environment, but handled at the site in Pirbright. There, the virus was studied and FMD vaccines were made by a private company.

According to HSE Chief Executive Geoffrey Podger investigation showed that it was possible for the live virus strain – O1BFS – to enter the site effluent drainage system. It had been judged likely that wastewater containing the live virus, having entered the drainage pipework, then leaked out and contaminated the surrounding soil. Excessive rainfall in July might also have increased the potential for virus release from the drain.

The report also said that vehicle movements at the site were not adequately controlled and may have spread the virus along roads.

The UK's Chief Veterinary Officer Debby Reynolds said she is satisfied the outbreak of foot-and-mouth is now over. She said the surveillance zone in Surrey will be lifted September 8 along with nationwide restrictions on the movement of animals. She said the UK would regain its international foot-and-mouth free status no earlier than Nov. 7, 2007.

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