11 April 2001
‘Bumpy ride’ when disease wanes

By Alistair Driver

THE governments chief scientist has warned farmers to expect a bumpy ride as the foot-and-mouth epidemic flattens out.

Professor David King told journalists that he was cautiously optimistic that the epidemic was still on course to peter out during June.

“The flattening-out of the epidemic has now been confirmed, and the data even shows a possible downward trend since the end of March.”

He added: “You could say with reasonable optimism that we have passed the worst. But epidemics can move in phases and bumps.”

Prof King warned: “There is going to be a bumpy ride.”

The average number of cases per day has fallen to 32 for the week ending 8 April compared with 43 for the previous week, he said.

However, the government is now very close to achieving its target of culling livestock on infected farms within 24-hours, Prof King added.

The target of culling animals on farms surrounding infected holdings within 48 hours was much more difficult to keep track of, he admitted.

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