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010906 Britain Foot-And-Mouth Plan Working

September 14, 2001

London - Britain's culling policy has curbed the foot-and-mouth outbreak and only two disease “hot spots” remain, government officials said.

Chief veterinarian Jim Scudamore said there were still cases near Penrith and Hexham in the north of England.

But culling all animals on affected farms and surrounding property had broken the path of contagion everywhere else, he told a news conference.

To date, 2,015 cases have been confirmed since the first infection was detected on Feb. 20. More than 3.8 million animals - mostly cattle, sheep and pigs - have been killed to prevent the spread of the disease.

Some critics have claimed that vaccination would have brought a swifter end to the outbreak than the mass slaughter of animals.

But David King, the government's chief scientist, said authorities don't believe vaccination could have brought the epidemic under control.

Culling by contrast, he said, had stopped the epidemic.

“It was throughout the country and we have now limited it to just two hot spots,” King said.

Foot-and-mouth infects cloven-hoofed animals. While not fatal, the disease causes wasting that can devastate a country's livestock industry.

Cases in humans are extremely rare, and eating infected meat is not considered dangerous.


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