FMD Update 1400 11th Aug 07
11th August 2007
FMD Update 1400 hrs Sat 11 Aug
We remain with 2 IPs. The Temporary Control Zone near Dorking was lifted at 1130 today. Some 44 suspected cases have been cleared with at least 4 under investigation. Investigation and clearance on the ground is usually fairly rapid however there are protocols to follow which causes some delay between the veterinary or lab reporting clear and the report being officially signed off.
The Deputy Chief Vet made it clear that the limits of the incubation period are not known for certain, that the next 3 days are very critical and that well aware of the stress a suspect case will cause the farmer, asked us all to watch our stock and to report if we were suspicious. We are very probably close to the tipping point.
It may seem strange but there is uncertainty about the length of the incubation period and Pirbright are working on it. In 1967 ( the virus may not act the same in 2007) the average incubation in cattle and sheep was 5 days but 10 days in pigs.
Wales has issued a number of licences for movement from midnight last night. I hear that AH Offices in Wales are not manned today so farmers are not able to get the relevant veterinary inspection!! Wales did join this conference but were unable to give us the risk assessment that led to the decision to issue the licences. They will share it with us as soon as they have it on an email computer.
Control remains paramount but there is considerable focus now on exit strategy and welfare issues. Welfare movement is being focused on and time lines for exit are being drawn up. There are many elements to this but we expect more information in 72 hours. We do in the end have to persuade EU countries that we are free of the disease and to have put in place all the things that do this at the earliest opportunity. As an example the date of first infection is difficult to pinpoint and the date of the last case and the point at which this can be decided are still grey areas. The 2nd sheep serology test in the PZ will start soon. There is serious planning for the SCOFCAH meeting on 23 Aug.
A framework of time lines and critical dates (probably not before dates) should be available early in the week. This should help some business planning as it should outline when farm to farm may be allowed, export etc.
It is very important to the cattle industry that all fallen bovines over 24 months old are brain stem tested and that we do not break our 6 year record for testing, if we do we could encounter problems in the EU. Please make sure that people are not burying fallen cattle on the quiet and have not done so.
The RSPCA have considerable resource and if people are encountering welfare problems they should contact them as they are likely to be able to help.
There may not be an update tomorrow as we are programmed to be away from computers.