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The Vector free period, the VFP.

email from Dr Ruth Watkins received December 2007

".....This is officially declared when less than 5 midges (immature females) are caught in the midge traps set up as prescribed over one night per week. We can expect that it will last January through March in the UK.

Also I believe the rules in the UK are that whilst animals may move between premises in the protection zone, and from the surveillance zone to the protection zone NO animals have been allowed to move out of the Protection zone.

They can only move out of the surveillance zone to an unrestricted zone when expensive tests for virus or antibodies have been done at prescribed times after the onset of the vector free period, 14 days for PCR testing and 28 days for antibody testing after the start of the VFP.

If DEFRA have decided that we are essentially in a period when no further transmission is taking place because their surveillance within the protection zone and within the surveillance zone shows no transmission, and there have been no new reports of clinical cases, so that they feel it is safe to forego the declaration of new control and surveillance zones around the Middlesborough cow, then people ought to be free to move animals out of the Surveillance zone into the unrestricted areas without expensive testing.

But this is not allowed to English farmers (they are talking of allowing movements within 5 miles of the restriction zone edge in the VFP without testing). Yet this is allowed for DEFRA, without explanation given.

They have also missed part of the South Coast of England off the restriction zone when it looks like it is within 150 km of France. The edge of the red area on the EU map should be continuous across the Channel...."