19 March 2001
Can incineration spread the disease?

IS it possible that the incineration of foot-and-mouth infected animals could be a prime factor in spreading the disease?

When you have a bonfire, unburnt particles of the lighter-weight materials often go up with the smoke.

I believe that germs are fairly small and light in weight. Are a lot of them being sent up into the atmosphere, and could this partly account for the sudden explosion in the number of cases of disease in areas adjacent to the earlier outbreaks, despite all the precautions that have been taken?

Also, the main occurrences appear to have been on a north-east/south-west axis across the UK, which is the way the winds have been blowing recently.

I understand that the ash resulting from incineration needs to be buried.

Is this because the ash may still carry infecttion? If so, what about all the ash that has gone up with the smoke?

Are we accepting the policy of incineration because having big bonfires makes us feel that we are doing something extreme and dramatic, or should we question the policy?

It wouldnt be the first time we have been wrong.
Robert Nelberg
nelberg@interactic.demon.co.uk