The United Kingdom’s (UK) Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has confirmed that an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has occurred in a cattle herd in Surrey England, southwest of London.
The incident was reported on aug. 2, with an estimated 60 animals testing positive for FMD. The Office of International Epizootics suspended the UK’s FMD-free status on Aug. 4.
DEFRA has culled and incinerated all the cattle in the herd, and applied a protection zone of about 2 miles radius and a surveillance zone of 6 miles around the quarantined farm. A second herd has been culled as a contiguous premises located in an adjacent field.
In addition, the UK has imposed a nationwide ban on the movement of all ruminants and pigs.
The FMD virus has been identified as most similar to a strain maintained at the Institute of Animal Health in Pirbright and a Merial Animal Health facility on the same site, which manufactures FMD vaccine. The site is in close proximity to the outbreak.
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a statement indicating it is closely following the FMD situation in the UK.
“APHIS has alerted the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that effective Aug. 3, the United States is placing a ban on all UK products derived from any FMD susceptible species. We will be working closely with our counterparts at CBP to ensure that these products are not imported into the United States, and that travelers from the United Kingdom do not bring prohibited products back to the United States,” says APHIS official Andrea Morgan, DVM.
The UK was declared free of FMD on Jan. 23, 2002 following an outbreak of 2,030 cases that resulted in the slaughter of 3.9 million animals including 3.2 million sheep, 597,000 cattle and 142,000 pigs.