Foot and mouth – Pirbright to blame

Foot and mouth disease in Surrey cattle looks more and more likely to have come from the Pirbright research site.


The Mail on Sunday reports that earlier in the week the wind was blowing from the complex towards the infected Wanborough farm just three miles away.


Foot and mouth has a three- to five-day incubation period. Foot and mouth symptoms were first reported on Thursday.


The Pirbright laboratory is home to the government-funded BBSRC Institute of Animal Health, which researches foot and mouth and has over 5000 strains in store, and US animal health company Merial, which last manufactured foot and mouth vaccine on July 15.


The Mail on Sunday also reports that in a damning report published last November, the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology said that cuts in the Pirbright laboratory’s funding from DEFRA were having a damaging effect on its efficiency and professionalism.


Pirbright institute was held responsible for a foot and mouth outbreak in the 1950s. DEFRA has launched an investigation.


The Surrey outbreak of foot and mouth prompted a series of alarms across the south-east. Two reported cases of foot and mouth in Reigate, 30 miles from Pirbright, one in Reading and one in Chelmsford all tested negative.


More on foot and mouth outbreak


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