31 August 2001
Army called in as farm virus spreads

By FWi staff

THE Army has been called in after foot-and-mouth disease spread to farms outside a 400-square mile security area in Northumberland.

Three new outbreaks were confirmed at Low Eshells, Hexham; Greyside, Fourstones, Hexham; and Ellrington Hall, Haydon Bridge, on Friday (31 August).

At least two of the new cases are outside the “blue box” restricted area currently covering the Allendale Valley, said the National Farmers Union.

The outbreaks are the first in the area since Tuesday (August 28). They take the number of confirmed cases in the area to 16 since Thursday (August 23).

NFU spokesman Rob Simpson said the outbreaks were of massive concern because the disease has apparently breached restriction zone.

This is the worst possible news for Northumberland farmers, he said.

Mr Simpson urged farmers to maintain biosecurity measures and take steps to ensure that everything is cleansed before leaving and entering farms.

The news came as Food and Farming minister Lord Whitty was due to visit the foot-and-mouth disease regional control centre in Newcastle.

While at the centre, Lord Whitty is expected to discuss the Northumberland outbreak with vets and farmers representatives.

Following veterinary advice, however, he will not be visiting the infected area, said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

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Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks
Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage