Thu, Sep 13, 2007 - Page 6 News List

New foot-and-mouth case confirmed by UK officials

AGENCIES , EGHAM, ENGLAND

The British government confirmed yesterday the discovery of foot-and-mouth disease on the southwest outskirts of London.

Britain's chief veterinary officer Debby Reynolds confirmed in a statement that the highly contagious disease was found on a farm in Surrey.Foot and mouth disease has struck a new cattle farm in southern England, the government said yesterday, prompting the EU to suspend a decision to lift its ban on British meat exports.

The agriculture ministry said a surveillance zone of more than 10km had been placed around the farm in Egham, Surrey, about 50km from the scene of the last confirmed outbreak last month. Veterinary authorities ordered an immediate cull of the herd in question.

It imposed an immediate ban on the movement of livestock in England, Scotland and Wales.

The new case came less than 24 hours after EU veterinary experts had agreed to declare Britain free of foot and mouth from Nov. 9 and lift an export ban on meat, dairy products and live animals -- imposed after the disease was found on two farms in Surrey in July and last month.

Britain suffered a crippling outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 2001 when more than 6 million animals had to be culled. The outbreak hit agriculture and tourism hard, costing the economy an estimated ?8.5 billion (US$17 billion).

Foot-and-mouth is highly contagious. It can cause animals to foam at the mouth and collapse, and has an incubation period of up to three weeks.

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