10 September 2001
Leicestershire awaits virus results

By FWi staff

LEICESTERSHIRE livestock farmers await results of tests on blood from stock on two farms where foot-and-mouth disease is suspected – three months after the county was given the all-clear.

Emergency disease controls have been imposed around farms near Hinckley and Loughborough.

Others within 3km are under Form D restriction and farms within 8km are under less restrictive form C notices. No contiguous cull is planned unless disease is confirmed.

About 18 cattle were culled at Copt Oak, near Loughborough, on Saturday. Initial blood tests were negative but further it was decided that further tests are necessary.

The results of these should be known by Wednesday morning (12 September), the East Midlands NFU said in a statement.

About 20 miles away, up to 50 cattle are being culled on a farm at Sketchley, near Hinckley, where there were a handful of outbreaks in the spring.

The last of six cases in Leicestershire was confirmed on 23 April.

In a statement, the East Midlands NFU said it would be a “severe setback” for local farmers if disease is confirmed:

“We are deeply concerned at the prospect of foot-and-mouth reappearing in the region following the period of four months without and outbreak.”

It emphasised, however, that both farms have been slaughtered on a precautionary basis as it has not been possible to rule out foot-and-mouth after lesions were found in cattle.

There were five new confirmed cases in Cumbria and Northumberland on Sunday (9 September), taking the total to 2013.

The Times reports on fears that a resurgence of the virus is likely around Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland where it is believed the disease originated in pigs.

This follows confirmation of a new case near Hexham. The dairy farmer involved also owns a mixed farm near Heddon.

The paper also claims that the government is failing to meet its 24-hour slaughter target during the Northumberland outbreak.

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