The strain of foot-and-mouth disease found at a Surrey farm has been identified, Defra has said.
The strain detected in infected cattle is identical to that used at the Institute for Animal Health, at Pirbright, three miles from the farm.
Defra could not say the laboratory was the source but has increased the size of the protection and surveillance zones covering farms in the area.
An urgent assessment of biosecurity has begun at the institute. Precautionary measures
The strain is not one normally found in animals but is used in vaccine production and in diagnostic laboratories.
In a statement Defra said: "The present indications are that this strain is a 01 BFS67-like virus, isolated in the 1967 foot and mouth disease outbreak in Great Britain."
The strain was used in a vaccine batch manufactured last month by a private pharmaceutical company Merial Animal Health.
EU extends ban on British meat and dairy exports
Wed Aug 8, 2007 6:04PM BST
By Darren Ennis
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union will continue a ban on all British fresh meat, milk and live animal exports because of the country's outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, the European Commission said on Wednesday.
"EU experts decided to continue to define the high risk area as Great Britain, excluding Northern Ireland," a spokesman for the EU executive said.
He said although the ban will formally remain in place until August 25, the situation will be reviewed at a meeting on August 23.
Wednesday's decision at an emergency meeting of EU veterinary experts followed Monday's ban on all meat, dairy and livestock exports from Great Britain, excluding Northern Ireland.
"It was confirmed that meat from Northern Ireland, which is outside the high risk zone, will be allowed to transit through Great Britain, so long as the necessary precautionary measures are adhered to," the Commission said in a statement.
The statement added that the British authorities "provided the Commission and member states with an update on the investigations being carried out into the source of the outbreak," but did not give details of the information shared.
Government inspectors say there is a "strong probability" the disease came from laboratories in Surrey close to farms where cattle were infected.
The unexpected outbreak is an unwelcome reminder of when the highly contagious viral sickness devastated British farming back in 2001, when more than six million animals were slaughtered -- many of them burned on huge bonfires.
British cattle and beef exports in 2006 were worth more than 100 million pounds ($202.9 million), according to Britain's Meat and Livestock Commission.
Sheep and sheep meat exports were valued at almost 250 million pounds, with France taking 70 percent.
Pigs and pork exports were put at around 175 million pounds, with 60 percent going to EU countries. Germany and the Netherlands were the main markets.
Several non-EU countries have blocked imports of meat or animals coming from Britain, or have said they will do so.
Japan and South Korea have temporarily halted pork imports from Britain, while the United States -- which already restricts UK imports of cattle and sheep due to other health scares -- has said it will ban imports of pork and pork products. Russia has also banned some imports of live animals from Britain.
Experts surprised diseases don't escape from labs more often
The Associated Press
Thursday, August 9, 2007
LONDON: "strong probability" the outbreak originated at the Pirbright laboratory southwest of London and was spread by human movement. The laboratory houses both a government Institute for Animal Health research center and a private company that makes vaccines.
Lab accidents have occurred resulting in human cases of everything from meningitis to Ebola, but are rare and most are self-contained. Still, diseases that can kill humans have made it out of labs.
"With the amount of virus there is in laboratories around the world, I'm surprised that this kind of thing doesn't happen more often," said Dr. Juan Lubroth, head of infectious diseases at the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization.According to a 2002 government review, parts of the research center suspected in the British outbreak were deemed to be "shabby," though no biosecurity concerns were raised.