23 November 2001

Fast foot-and-mouthtest proves reliable

A RAPID lab test for foot-and-mouth has proven as reliable as the one used during the recent outbreak, according to a report in the Vet Record.

Blood tests are essential to identify F&M infection, particularly in sheep as clinical symptoms can be mild, according to researchers at the Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright. The test in use this year identifies most positive cases within three or four hours, but to ensure a negative result needs further culturing of blood samples taking up to four days.

But DEFRA-funded research into an alternative, real-time fluorogenic PCR assay, rapid test, found the results closely matched those of the test in current use. The rapid test takes just five to six hours to produce a positive or negative result and it allows more samples to be tested in a day. &#42