Source of UK foot-and-mouth outbreak discovered

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The source of a recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Surrey, UK has been discovered by investigators at the Pirbright laboratory where investigations began in August. The Health and Safety Executive informed the BBC that they had pinpointed the source to possible biosecurity lapses in a pipe near the laboratory. It is thought that the pipe, which runs between the site and a government-run laboratory, may have been damaged by tree roots.

Recent flooding in the area may have brought the virus to the surface, but it is not yet known how the virus arrived on nearby farmland. The Health and Safety Executive, however, confirmed that vehicles from the Pirbright laboratory had used a road adjoining to the farmland where the outbreak was found.

Neither Merial, the pharmaceutical company who own the Pirbright laboratory, or the government have claimed ownership of the pipe, but Merial have refused to comment before a full report has been published.