22 March 2001
Foot-and-mouth reaches Ireland
By FWi staff
IRISH prime minister Bertie Ahern has confirmed the first outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in his country.
Mr Ahern told the Irish Parliament, the Dail, on Thursday (22 March) foot-and-mouth was confirmed at a sheep farm in Co Louth.
This is close to the islands only previous outbreak, in Co Armagh, Northern Ireland.
Irish agriculture minister Joe Walsh said he was ordering the slaughter of all sheep in the area of the outbreak.
Meanwhile, in the UK the number of cases of foot-and-mouth has risen to 444, with nine new cases confirmed on Thursday.
Four have been confirmed in Cumbria, with single cases in Staffordshire, Northumberland, Co Durham, Gloucestershire and Dumfries and Galloway.
The scientist given the task of predicting the path of the UK outbreak has warned that foot-and-mouth cases might not peak until May.
Professor Roy Anderson says new outbreaks could still be occurring in August, if the number of new cases continue at an average of two every hour.
This is the first indication farmers have been given on how long they could be constrained by movement restrictions and the export ban.
Prof Anderson has been asked by the Ministry of Agriculture to plot the possible course of the outbreak.
He told the BBC his was likely to be the worst outbreak the country has ever endured.
Already over 400,000 animals have been designated for slaughter in the first month of this outbreak.
The number will soon overtake the more than 440,000 animals slaughtered during the five months of the 1967 outbreak.
It now seems increasingly likely that the most infected parts of the country will see no respite for months from movement restrictions.
But MAFF has indicated that there may be a gradual lifting of movement restrictions in areas with no outbreaks or isolated early cases.
Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks
Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage