Restrictions on the movement of animals remain in place in much of the south east of England as a seventh case of foot and mouth was confirmed today and another case of bluetongue virus has been found at the Suffolk farm where it was confirmed earlier.
Chief veterinary officer Debby Reynolds has outlined the integrated, risk based approach to deal with the current disease situation with both Bluetongue and Foot and Mouth Disease, based on the contingency plan and continued work with industry.
In the current foot and mouth outbreak, there have been six infected premises. There is one temporary control zone on the Hampshire/West Sussex border and in addition, a further Temporary Control Zone has today been established at a premises in Hampshire. A further slaughter on suspicion for Foot and Mouth disease is taking place at a premises within the existing Egham Protection Zone.
Defra has also today published the latest FMD Epidemiology report produced by the National Epidemiology Emergency Group. It concludes that IP5 provides a link between the August and September cases with IP5 probably being infected by mechanical transmission, either from the Pirbright site or one of the first two Infected Premises in the Elstead area. It also concludes that IPs 3 and 4 were probably infected subsequently.
The report also states there have been limited animal movements out of the Surrey area, in part due to the restrictions in place in August, which has reduced the risk of wider spread. In addition, the report concludes that the future course of the outbreak is dependent on the surveillance for infection and disease by both animal keepers and animal health patrols. Cattle owners should check their animals twice daily and report any suspicions of disease immediately.
Intensive surveillance is already underway on a precautionary basis in the wider Egham and Surrey areas. Further surveillance by cattle blood testing will take place.
Based on the epidemiological report and the overall assessment of risk, two FMD risk areas will come into effect from 3.30pm today (Tuesday).
Risk Area: consisting of Essex, Kent, East and West Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Greater London.
Low Risk Area: The rest of England, Wales and Scotland. In England, farm to farm movements will be allowed also from 3.30pm today under stringent conditions and subject to high levels of biosecurity with enforcement by local authorities.
Defra has also identified, from 3.30pm today, a Bluetongue Temporary Area while surveillance is carried out to determine whether the virus is circulating. This area encompasses Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire, and covers those additional areas which could be included in any further movement controls should an outbreak of Bluetongue be confirmed.
The chief veterinary officer said:
"All these areas will be kept under active review and we will continue with a risk-based, staged approach. The aim is to reduce the size of the FMD risk area as work progresses.
"In the next 24 hours everyone needs to prepare for their own role in ensuring this important next step is successful."