".....The disease is worrisome to health officials because it is highly contagious, sometimes lethal to humans ....
The malady also was discovered in England in 2001, after illegally imported and tainted pork was fed to livestock. ...."
Email sent November 7 2006
Dear (Name of journalist)
I was interested by your article yesterday - but also concerned at the couple of inaccuracies above. The cause of the UK outbreak in 2001 has never actually been officially discovered or published. There have been no proven human deaths recorded from foot and mouth disease. (It is not the same as foot, hand and mouth disease).
Far more of a story, and of great concern, is the decision by the UK government in 2001 to turn down the US offer of help in the form of the rapid RT-PCR on-site diagnostic kit developed at Plum Island.
Instead, over 11 million farm animals and pets were killed - most unlawfully - by the government because of an untested mass culling policy and the fact that the existing diagnostic tests could not be carried out quickly enough. Data from 2001 has shown that the majority of animals were healthy and uninfected - as so many of their distraught owners knew at the time. I've spent the past six years deploring this disastrous mistake - and wondering if the lessons of it will ever be learned by the UK. (the latest on this is on my website below)
As Dr Roger Breeze - former Director at Plum Island - says, the means to eradicate and control these diseases are now available . What seems to be lacking unfortunately, in Britain at least, is the political will.
Mary Critchley http://www.warmwell.com
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