FMD fears unfounded - Update

Further to our earlier report tests on a pig suspected as having foot and mouth disease (FMD) have proved 'negative' for the disease.

Samples from a pig at the Cheale Meats Abattoir, Essex, were taken for testing after it developed blisters on its nose.

While the tests have so far shown the pig to be clear of both FMD and Swine Vesicular Disease, further tests will be carried out to determine the nature of the disease. Debby Reynolds, chief veterinary officer at Defra confirmed: "Late yesterday evening a suspect disease was reported to the State Veterinary Service in pigs at a slaughterhouse in Essex. Samples were taken and submitted to the Institute for Animal Health for testing.

"Initial laboratory results this morning are negative for both Foot and Mouth Disease and Swine Vesicular Disease. Further test results are expected later today."

In accordance with Defra's contingency plan, restrictions have been placed on the slaughterhouse and farm where the pigs originated from. An 8km radius temporary zone preventing the movement of pigs, cattle and other ruminants has also been put in place surrounding the slaughterhouse. Restrictions will remain in place pending further laboratory test results.

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