The United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has confirmed an outbreak of foot and mouth disease on a farm southwest of London. In efforts to keep the outbreak confined, DEFRA has established a quarantine zone around the premises and banned movement of ruminants and pigs throughout Great Britain.

Symptoms were reported on Aug. 2 and preliminary reports indicate that the disease was confirmed in 60 cattle. The FMD virus identified in the outbreak is most similar to type 01 BFS67 - 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.  This site is in close proximity to the outbreak.

Senior officials believe the virus may have been transported by an individual or by a car from the research complex to the farm at the center of the outbreak. A second herd has been culled from a neighboring farm located in an adjacent field.

The last major outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the UK occurred in 2001 and resulted in the slaughter of nearly 8 million animals. The United States and Canada are currently free of FMD, but the disease is present in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America.

Source: DEFRA