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The Scottish meat processing plant where 24 staff have been struck down with Q-fever has resumed lamb production.

The Scottish meat processing plant where 24 staff have been struck down with Q-fever has resumed lamb production, after the infection forced the company to stop production and buy-in supplies for its customers.

Scotbeef's Bridge of Allan plant in Stirlingshire is still the subject of investigations by the health board, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), local environmental health officers and the Food Standards Agency (FSA), but a spokeswoman assured customers that the authorities were "happy for us to get production up and running" following a thorough deep-clean. "Our customers are happy, well informed, and the supply chain is unaffected," she added.

As part of the investigation, the authorities are trying to trace the source, although this may prove difficult. Scotbeef deals with around 2,000 farms and identifying infected animals is difficult. "There are no clinical signs," said Dr Bob McCracken, vice president of the British Veterinary Association (BVP), "so one is never aware of the period in which they are infectious."

Infection passes to humans by inhaling particles from the sick animal's carcase or breathing in dust from the animal's bedding.

Q fever produces flu-like symptoms which can be treated with antibiotics. While Q fever can be fatal, with the right treatment it clears up.

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