New FMD case suspected

Vets are awaiting results on tests for foot-and-mouth disease at a farm in Norfolk.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the tests in Norfolk were being carried out as a precaution and nothing had been confirmed.

A spokeswoman said a temporary control zone was put around the premises in Norfolk on Wednesday afternoon and added that test results are expected to be known on Thursday. ‘This is a precautionary measure,’ she added.

The latest outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Surrey was probably caused by the same strain that infected herds last month, initial tests suggest.

The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs said the strain found in Egham was similar to that from the Pirbright research site in Surrey, blamed for the August cases.

The infection of cattle on grazing land in Egham came just a week after Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, declared Britain to be free of the disease.

A movement ban is in place, and the EU has stopped animal exports.

The Queen has been banned from riding horses or letting her dogs off the leash on the 5,000 acre Windsor estate after a six-mile surveillance zone was imposed around the farm. Among the areas closed to the public are the deer park, which has a 600-strong herd, and two farms on the estate which have 400 cattle, 2,000 pigs and 6,000 hens between them.

The National Farmers’ Union described the news as a “hammer blow” to an industry already facing losses of up to £80 million as a result of August’s outbreak, which was blamed on a leak of foot and mouth virus from the Government-run laboratory in Pirbright.