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European Law Monitor newsFoot and Mouth Disease outbreak confirmed in cattle in Surrey, England: UK authorities applying EC control measures

The European Commission has been informed by the British veterinary authorities of a confirmed outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in a cattle holding near Guildford in Surrey, England. All measures foreseen by EC legislation on FMD are being applied, including the culling of all animals in the infected premises, the establishment of a Protection Zone of three kilometres radius and a Surveillance Zone of 10 kilometres around the premises and increased biosecurity. In addition, a movement ban of all ruminants and pigs has been imposed across Great Britain.

The European Commission services remain in close contact with the UK authorities. The Commission will adopt on Monday an emergency decision confirming the measures being applied in accordance with EC legislation, concerning restrictions on the movement of animals and the dispatch of products from the UK. Further tests are ongoing at the Community Reference Laboratory in Pirbright to determine the exact strain of the virus.

Background from the DG SANCO web site:

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious, usually non-fatal viral disease of domestic and wild cloven-hoofed animals, but may also affect certain other species. It is widely distributed throughout the world. Animals recovered from the disease may remain carriers of the infectious virus for an extended period of time. FMD is not dangerous to humans, but has a great potential for causing severe economic losses in susceptible animals.

Community control measures are laid down in Council Directive 2003/85/EC of 29 September 2003 repealing the former Directive 85/511/EEC. The new Directive provides for measures to control and eradicate the disease with the aim to regain the disease and infection free status of the affected territory. The control measures are based on stamping-out of infected and in-contact herds, and on regional restrictions on the movement of susceptible animals and their products. Provisions are made for the use of emergency vaccination. To this end the Community maintains one of the world's biggest antigen banks for express formulation of vaccines.

Member States are obliged to have contingency plans in operation and national reference laboratories must collaborate with the Community Reference Laboratory.

Reproduced with the permission of the European Commission REF IP/07/1212