7th July 2003
Martin Alder - The
The Veterinary Record
7 Mansfield Street
This year has seen outbreaks of FMD in various
countries distant to the E.C. However, the recent outbreak in Libya raises
some concerns which may not have been widely noted. The index case in the
Libyan outbreak was not reported to OIE for about 6 weeks. The strain
identified was not one commonly seen north of the Sahara which may have
implications in the epidemiology and clinical picture of the disease. This
is close to the EC border.
There are a number of issues that have still
not been sufficiently well addressed by the DEFRA in response to eliciting
a plan for dealing with exotic disease.
There seems to be reluctance to
use electronic identification systems (which could be linked with geographical
information systems and thus locate all domestic animals within the EU).
The continued welfare unfriendly use of double tagging together with the added
trauma of losses to individual farmers (currently £4.25 to replace one tag and
many torn ears flapping in the wind) could be easily
2) Rapid diagnostic devices.
The DEFRA still have
not attempted to validate rapid technologies available to identify the presence
or absence of FMDV in herds or flocks. This is despite continual
re-evaluation of these technologies in the field. It could be used now to
help in early identification and control. We currently have outbreaks in
Libya, Malawi and Zimbabwe where this technology could be used. This
technology is already enabled to work with GIS.
3) A coherent and transparent plan for dealing with
the next outbreak of FMD to occur in this country is still awaited.
the comment in the Vet Record of 5th July
argued, the Animal Health & Welfare strategy on which so many hopes are
pinned should not be allowed to fizzle out.
A Roger BSc., MSc., BVetMed., DSHP., CertWEL., MRCVS