HSE Foot and mouth report says Pirbright link a ‘strong possibility’

The Health and Safety report into the foot and mouth outbreak has concluded that there is a strong possibility that the foot and mouth strain involved in the outbreak in Surrey could have originated from the Merial and Institute for Animal Health laboratories at Pirbright.

But the executive did not specifically distinguish between the two laboratories.

The report – which is largely inconclusive and recommends further investigation – also indicates human error could be to blame rather that technical faults at the laboratories.

Dismissing airborne release as “negligible” the report states that “release by human movement must also be considered a real possibility”.

It concludes:

  • No evidence of working practices breakdown
  • Meteorological data make airborne release unlikely
  • Waterborne release remains a possibility
  • Further genetic analysis of the virus is needed

Click here for the full Initial report on potential breaches of biosecurity at the Pirbright site 2007

  • Keep up to date with our foot and mouth special report page