Initial Results Negative For Suspected foot-and-mouth
Published:  15 August, 2007

Preliminary tests from the two most recent suspected FMD cases in Surrey and Kent have come back negative and the chief vet says the risk of the disease spreading outside Surrey is now low.

Preliminary tests from the two most recent suspected FMD cases in Surrey and Kent have come back negative.

The temporary control zones will remain as a cautionary measure until further tests confirm that FMD is not present.

Defra chief veterinary officer Debby Reynolds said: "I want to emphasise that these are preliminary results and we are still waiting for further test results."

She also said that the overall conclusion of the epidemiological study is that there is now a very low risk of FMD spreading outside of Surrey.

In light of the low perceived risk of the disease spreading, Reynolds announced that the vaccination teams will stand down, although she gave her assurance that they could be up and running again within five days.

There will also be two substantial alterations to the movement restrictions. The general licence will permit movement of livestock within a holding over a distance of 3km when there is a welfare need, and a specific licence for the pig sector will allow movement for acute or anticipated welfare problems with pigs.

Reynolds said that the country was "still in the middle of a crucial week" and it was not yet possible to give a timescale on when she could say the outbreak was over. She called for people to remain vigilant and warned that there might be more scares leading to temporary control zones in the future.

Investigations into the source of the outbreak continue, with no solid evidence of how it originated. "Overall investigations are still a work in progress," said Reynolds.

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