email sent to warmwell September 13 by Dr Ruth Watkins.
Where has the virus been all this time if this is not another release of virus from Pirbright?
Other people have thought water or soil, I have thought deer but there is another possibility.
We don't know how the virus did get out of Pirbright but if it was by the route thought most likely then were the actions taken at the time the most thoughtful response?
If you look at section 235 in the HSE report this gives directions in which soil was taken when removed between July 20 and July 25. One of these was to a landfill site at Compton via Normandy.
But two other directions were to Basing stoke a construction site and Wrecclesham to a top soil grading company. If Normandy farm (s) were infected en route what of other farms on the other two routes, a sheep farm perhaps? Or if the soil has been kept moist and cool at Wrecclesham perhaps this has been taken to a place near Egham.
What are the possibilities of spread from the construction site?
To summarise was there spread undetected along other routes the lorries took infecting a sheep for instance, or is this new infection from activities in relation to the soil directly or indirectly? In loose soil the virus could be buried out of the sun and kept cool and moist in discontinuous discrete lumps. (One of the reasons for the phenomenon that not everyone is infected who consumes a contaminated food is that the organism or toxin is not evenly mixed in the food).
If this is found in retrospect to be so it shows they have not learnt all the lessons from 2001, when the infection was widespread in sheep, at least locally in Northumberland, before ever it surfaced in the Waugh's pig farm. In fact what is the science behind choosing the perimeter of the protection zone and surveillance zone? I think it is limited to custom, common sense and EU recommendations and short on science, it assumes a point source. But should the veterinary infectious disease experts have exercised their discretion? If lorries went in various directions should they not have carried out a much wider surveillance of sheep? What did they do about the soil removed from the site given that it was deemed to have been a source of infection?
Are there any veterinary infectious disease experts out there?
I would like to say one more thing- If infection via deer cannot be quickly ruled out we should vaccinate without further delay.
In creating a vaccination zone it is to be hoped that the rest of the country can get back to some normality outside that zone or the South East of England relatively quickly, allowing tracing of animal movements from the area and a period of observation during at least one incubation cycle e.g. 2 weeks and screening all animals moved outside the area especially sheep.
I think there is a duty of care the government must make to the rest of UKs farmers. It is not good enough for Gordon Brown to say sorry. We face ruin. When farmers take animals to the abattoir or a market for slaughter under the restrictions placed by the government, farmers are offered a lower price than normal, less pence per live weight kilo. They cannot take the animals home under the government regulations. Has the public seen the price of lamb fall at the supermarket?
There is no compensation for livestock farmers. The feed prices are going up disproportionately and yet even the normal price for our product e.g.lamb is the same as it was 25 years ago. The number of livestock on the fields is the greatest during the whole year as we have our lambs ready for the seasonal market. What of rural Britain, with so many shows and country functions cancelled so much business and enterprise facing financial ruin; I cannot think of what to compare the experience to for our urban compatriots.
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