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Health and Consumer Protection

Press releases

Brussels, 22 March 2001

Foot-and-mouth disease in Ireland

The European Commission today adopted interim protective measures following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the county of Louth in Ireland. The dispatch of species of live animals which are susceptible to foot-and-mouth disease from anywhere in Ireland is prohibited. In addition, the consignment of fresh meat and meat products, milk and milk products and other animal products from these species from the county of Louth is prohibited, unless these products are treated appropriately. Vehicles used for the transport of livestock and milk have to be disinfected. This decision will apply immediately and until 4 April. It will be reviewed at the meeting of the Standing Veterinary Committee scheduled for the 27 March 2001.

On 22 March 2001, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease has been declared in the County of Louth in Ireland. The disease was detected in a farm situated in the surveillance zone around the outbreak in Northern Ireland, a few weeks ago.

Following the outbreak of the disease in the United Kingdom, on 8 March the Commission adopted restrictions on movements of animals susceptible to foot-and-mouth disease throughout the European Union. Such animals must not be taken to livestock markets or assembly points and all movement of such animals is prohibited, except for direct transport to abattoirs or direct transfers from one farm to another, subject to authorisation from the competent authorities both at the place of departure and destination. This measure is intended to ensure that the potential spread of the disease is kept to a minimum in the event of an outbreak of FMD outside the UK.

The Irish authorities have already applied additional measures to contain and eliminate the disease. The Commission has however today decided to adopt supplementary interim Community protective measures.

In particular, it will be prohibited:

- to move live susceptible animals (bovine, ovine, caprine and porcine species and other biungulates) and their germinal products from Ireland to other Member States and third countries;

- to dispatch products, notably fresh meat and meat products, milk and milk products, hides and skins and other animal products from the same species from the county of Louth to other parts of Ireland, to the other Member States and to third countries, unless these products were obtained before 20 February 2001 or have been treated in a way that the risk of spreading the food-and-mouth disease virus is avoided (pasteurisation and heat-treatment of milk, heat treatment of meat products, treatment of skins and hides).

In addition, vehicles used for the transport of livestock and milk have to be disinfected and some restrictions on the movement of horses are put into place. These measures follow the approach already adopted in relation to the outbreaks of FMD in France and the Netherlands.

The Commission is actively monitoring the situation with the full co-operation of the veterinary authorities in Ireland and in the Member States. The situation will be reviewed at a meeting of the Standing Veterinary Committee on 27 March 2001.

Released on 26/03/2001

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