Scientists warn over movements

29 August 2001

Scientists warn over movements

By FWi staff

SCIENTISTS have warned that moving animals from farm to farm for husbandry or commercial reasons could prolong the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

The government relaxed the rules allowing animals in some areas to moved under strict conditions, on Tuesday (28 August).

But Dr Neil Ferguson of Imperial College, London, told The Independent that greater movement would inevitably risk spreading the disease.

One has to be extremely careful with movements. You are inevitably going to increase the risk of transmission.

Professor Mark Woolhouse, an epidemiologist from Edinburgh University, told the Financial Times that there was risk of prolonging the disease.

If infection did get into currently uninfected areas then of course the potential for spread in those areas is greater, if more movements are allowed.

The fire isnt alight, but youre stoking it, so that if a spark did land, the risk of that spark catching and starting a significant blaze is worse.

Food and farming minister Lord Whitty stressed that easing restrictions was not risk-free but failure to do allow movements would result in welfare problems.

The autumn is traditionally the busiest time of the year for the movement of livestock, he said

If we do not introduce a regime for movement of livestock in the autumn, then there will be very substantial numbers of sheep and cattle left on the hills.

The Guardian reports that Lord Whitty admitted the outlook was ominous. The Northumberland outbreak is a serious outbreak, he said.

Dont expect there will be no more cases. It is not clear how [the Northumberland outbreak] was caused but there will be more cases.

Two more cases of were confirmed in Northumberland on Tuesday taking the number of cases in the fresh outbreak to 13 and the UK total to 1989.


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