On Friday 3 August 2007 the UK authorities first confirmed a foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in a beef finishing farm near Guildford in Surrey. Measures in line with Community legislation, in particular Council Directive 2003/85/EC on Community measures for the control of foot-and-mouth disease, were implemented by the UK authorities. All the cattle on the premises have been culled; a protection zone of three kilometres radius and a surveillance zone of 10 kilometres has been placed around the premises, and a GB wide national movement ban of all ruminants and pigs has been imposed.
The culling of the cattle on the infected enterprise in Surrey was completed on Saturday. This included the 38 cattle known to be infected, and the cattle on two additional sites, which together make up this same farming enterprise. The cattle on these two sites, both within the Surveillance Zone, showed no clinical signs of FMD but were culled in line with normal procedure and tested. Results revealed that one of the additional animals culled tested positive for FMD.
On Tuesday 7 August 2007 a second case of FMD is confirmed. The outbreak is located in the protection zone set up around the first outbreak. As part of their surveillance activity within the protection zone, the UK authorities identified a further herd of cattle with clinical signs of FMD. Laboratory testing has confirmed the disease.
On Thursday 9 August the protection and surveillance zones were again slightly amended. This followed the positive test results from clinically healthy animals that were culled on Tuesday 7 August. Those cattle were culled because they were part of the second infected premises, kept on an additional site of the farm within the existing protection zone.
Since no further outbreaks have been detected, on Friday 24 August 2007 the UK lifts the measures in the two protection zones. The area in the protection zones is merged with the area in the surveillance zones. The measures in the surveillance zone continue to apply in the merged zone.
Clinical inspections and serological testing in the combined surveillance zone has been completed by the UK authorities. All results are negative. Therefore, on 8 September 2007 at midday, 30 days since the completion of preliminary cleansing and disinfection in the surveillance zone, the UK authorities lifted the measures relating to the surveillance zone.
In the morning of 12 September 2007 the UK authorities notified to the Commission a new suspicion of foot and mouth disease in Surrey, approximately 50 km north of the previous outbreaks. An initial restriction zone was immediately put in place around the holding. The adoption by the Commission of the draft Decision that was endorsed by the SCoFCAH meeting on 11 September has for this reason been suspended, awaiting further developments.
On 12 September in the afternoon the suspicion was confirmed by the UK authorities. Initial laboratory tests have indicated the presence of FMD virus. On the basis of these initial laboratory results and the clinical symptoms FMD was confirmed. The farm comprises a number of separate parcels of land and a single protection zone will be put in place of 3 km radius from each of them, and a surveillance zone of 10 kilometres radius beyond that. More information can be found in the UK press release on this outbreak.
On 14 September the UK authorities informed the Commission that laboratory results had confirmed an adjacent holding as positive for FMD as well. The animals on that holding were already culled on 13 September because they were seen as a dangerous contact. Following this confirmation the UK authorities enlarged the protection and surveillance zone in place. A detailed epidemiological investigation is underway to determine the most likely cause of these outbreaks.
Between 18 and 30 September the UK confirmed 4 additional FMD outbreaks, all of them in the same area and within the protection zone established around the previous outbreaks. In total the UK have now detected 8 outbreaks of FMD since the beginning of August 2007. Minor changes have been made to the border of the protection and surveillance zones. The UK Declarations relating to these outbreaks including maps can be found on the DEFRA website.
The FMD virus strain by which the outbreak was caused was found to be most similar to strains used in international diagnostic laboratories and in vaccine production, including at the Pirbright site shared by the Institute of Animal Health (IAH) and Merial Animal Health Ltd, a pharmaceutical company. The present indications are that this strain is a 01 BFS67 – like virus, isolated in the 1967 Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in Great Britain. The holding where the outbreak was detected is situated approximately 5 km from Pirbright.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was asked by the Government to lead a team to investigate any potential breaches of biosecurity at the IAH and Merial sites; whether such breaches may have led to a release of any specified animal pathogen and whether any such breaches had been rectified to prevent future incidents. A multidisciplinary team was assembled with expertise in a wide range of relevant areas, including in investigation; in working with highly infectious viruses; in engineering control systems relevant to containment; in veterinary medicine production; and in management systems for controlling risk and environmental protection issues.
The multidisciplinary cross-government team with representatives from HSE, DEFRA, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and the Environment Agency (EA) supported by others, conducted on-site investigations on 5, 6 and 7 August and prepared an ‘Initial Report of potential breaches to bio-security at the Pirbright Site 2007’ on 7 August. This initial report can be found on the DEFRA website.
The investigations into the August 2007 FMD outbreak have now been finalised. The final reports of the different investigations into the outbreak, and a UK Government statement in response, have been published and are available on the DEFRA website.
The Commission adopted on Monday 6 August 2007 Commission Decision 2007/552/EC concerning interim protection measures in relation to the FMD outbreak in the UK.
An emergency session of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) was held in the afternoon of Wednesday 8 August 2007. The Member States unanimously supported a Commission proposal confirming the protection measures with regard to foot and mouth disease in the UK taken by the Commission on Monday 6 August. Decision 2007/554/EC, which repeals Decision 2007/552/EC, was adopted by the Commission on 9 August at 18:00 hours and published in the Official Journal on 10 August. It will remain in force until 25 August. It will remain in force until 25 August.
The Commission has called a further meeting of the Standing Committee on 23 August to review the evolution of the disease situation and the Decision. The Committee agreed that the restrictions provided for in Decision 2007/554/EC should apply until 15 September 2007 and that the high and low risk area should be limited to the area of the surveillance zone established in Surrey. The Member States unanimously supported a Commission proposal to that effect.
Decision 2007/588/EC was adopted by the Commission on 24 August and published in the Official Journal on 27 August.
The measures for the control of FMD in the UK have again been reviewed at the meeting of the SCoFCAH of 2/3 October 2007. Following the detection of the eighth outbreak the Committee endorsed a draft Decision amending Decision 2007/554/EC. Decision 2007/664/EC was adopted formally by the Commission on 12 October. It prolongs as well the applicability of Decision 2007/554/EC until 15 November 2007.
A further SCoFCAH meeting has been organised in the morning of 19 October 2007 to review the evolution of the FMD disease situation in the UK. During the meeting the Committee endorsed a proposal of the Commission to amend again Decision 2007/554/EC. Decision 2007/709/EC was adopted by the Commission on 31 October 2007 and published on 1 November in the Official Journal. It prolongs as well the applicability of Decision 2007/554/EC until 15 December 2007.
The measures for the control of FMD in the UK have again been reviewed at the meeting of the SCoFCAH of 6/7 November 2007. No further outbreaks have been detected since the end of September. During the meeting the Committee endorsed a proposal of the Commission to amend again Decision 2007/554/EC. This draft Decision will be adopted formally by the Commission before the end of November. It prolongs as well the applicability of Decision 2007/554/EC until 31 December 2007.
A further SCoFCAH meeting has been organised in the afternoon of 18 September 2007 to review the evolution of the FMD disease situation in the UK. During the meeting the Committee endorsed a proposal of the Commission to amend slightly Decision 2007/554/EC.
The presentation given by the UK authorities during the SCoFCAH meeting of 6/7 November 2007 can be found here.
The presentation given by the UK authorities during the SCoFCAH meeting of 8 August 2007 can be found here.
The presentation given by the UK authorities during the SCoFCAH meeting of 23 August 2007 can be found here.
The presentation given by the UK authorities during the SCoFCAH meeting of 18 September 2007 can be found here.
The presentation given by the UK authorities during the SCoFCAH meeting of 2/3 October 2007 can be found here.
The presentation given by the UK authorities during the SCoFCAH meeting of 19 October 2007 can be found here.
A presentation giving a Scottish perspective on the impact of FMD, including their movement controls and the detailed investigations undertaken by the authorities in Scotland into animal movements from a 50 kilometer zone around Pirbright to Scotland can be found here..
A chronology of the main events and actions taken by the Commission has been prepared and is updated on a regular basis.
On the Commission's webpage on FMD more information can be found on the disease and the legislation relating to FMD. Further more detailed information on this outbreak in the UK can be found on the FMD website of DEFRA, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
3 August 2007 IP/07/1212: Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak confirmed in cattle in Surrey, England: UK authorities applying EC control measures
6 August 2007 IP/07/1218: Foot-and-Mouth Disease: Commission adopts Decision to reinforce measures in the UK
8 August 2007 IP/07/1226: Foot-and-Mouth Disease: Standing Committee approves Commission Decision maintaining measures for Great Britain
23 August 2007 IP/07/1246: Foot-and-Mouth Disease in GB: Standing Committee supports Commission Decision to reduce control measures to the surveillance zone around the 2 outbreaks
13 September 2007 Midday: Foot-and-Mouth Disease: UK confirms new outbreak ; disease control measures agreed
3 October 2007 IP/07/1440: Foot-and-Mouth Disease: Decision on Great Britain could be adapted as of 12 October subject to strict conditions