We see from the DEFRA website tonight that there are THREE new cases of FMD
in Northumberland today.  This is almost certainly the tip of the iceberg,
with more cases as yet undetected that will surface over the next few days
to form yet another "disease hotspot".  There are brave faces being put upon
this but the fact remains that autumn is just around the corner with the
prospect of a second winter of movement restrictions looming.  As for
regaining the export market . . . . . . yes it's all looking under control
as predicted before the election.


A few points from Michaela:

I am afraid I have given up on DEFRA and the NFU. Like you I can pre guess
their response, if indeed I am fortunate enough to get one.

I am afraid that this ordeal is not so much conspiracy as pre-determination.
The government, the power/money behind them, decided what the reaction would
be at the start and will see it through to the bitter end.  I do not believe
that any inquiry public or otherwise will alter the response for future
outbreaks.  This WILL BE THE LAST TIME A STAMPING OUT POLICY WILL BE
ADOPTED.   This is a political disease, never lose sight of that fact.

Re recent comments on Zimbabwe and their wildlife fences, may I remind
everyone that there is little evidence (anecdotal) that wildlife infects
domestic species.  Its us that have it all out of proportion.

Do not know whether I mentioned this before, but Bertie Ellis tells me that
factory ships are collecting animals off the African coast, they are
slaughtered on board and brought into this country and marketed as British
produced.  Still closer to home, lamb produced in Scotland is brought to
Llanidlois abattoir, slaughtered and marketed as Welsh lamb.

Re:  The decline of the epidemic in 2001,
>halving from peak in two weeks and halving again in another two looks very
>similar to the pattern established in 1967. "

Which in fact is the trend of any virus infection within a susceptible
population.  No modelling req.d.

ENDS


Michaela also asked us to pose the following question to Andrew King at
Pirbright:


"Please ask  the Andrew about Mike Walker's Chromagraphic Test (Genus Labs),
that takes ten mins and differentiates between current infection and
recovered/vaccinates on structural and non-structural protein.  You may
recall I sent you Mike's despondent comment regarding Defras lack of
interest months ago.  It has been validated in the French Lab and was used
last year in an outbreak in Korea."


Andrew's response came through as follows:


I may be difficult for me to find out anything about DEFRA's policy on
experimental pen-side tests, and even if I do it may be on a confidential
basis. But I may be able to get some low-down on the Genus test, itself. I
have learned recently that the "competitive ELISA", the one actually being
used, has been under development for some years and replaces an earlier test
which had been fully validated but isn't as good. MAFF accepted our advice
to use the best possible test and to complete the validation later. In fact,
a vast number of samples have now been analysed by both this test and the,
much slower and more laborious, but definitive, neutralisation test, and my
colleagues seem very pleased with the results of that comparison.

After today I shall be away until Sept 5th.

Andrew

ENDS


From the Warmwell website:


Christopher Booker's Notebook
Sunday Telegraph
....Consider all the areas where we are no longer free to make our own
policies, because "competence" has been handed over to Brussels. They
include the full range of environmental isssues, from water and air
pollution to waste disposal; fisheries; employment and business law;
agriculture (including issues such as genetically modified organisms and
foot and mouth); public health (tobacco and similar issues); health and
safety; food safety; weights and measures; consumer protection; copyright
and data protection; rules governing every kind of manufacture and food
production; international trade policy...............
........ Ramblers go where stalkers may not tread JIM CORBETT, who runs a
deer forest on the Lochbuie estate in Mull, tells me that everyone involved
in deer-stalking must now obtain a permit from Scottish National Heritage,
and they must also keep a log with the names and addresses of all the
members of shooting parties and where they have walked on the hills.
The aim, apparently, is to assist the great fight against foot and mouth,
which fortunately has got no nearer the island of Mull than Dumfries, 150
miles to the south.

No such paperwork is required, however, for ramblers. They are free to walk
the same hills unlicensed and unrecorded, even though they may have driven
straight up from an infected area of Cumbria or Northumberland, where last
week they were still reporting cases of the disease that Professor Roy
Anderson's computer told us would be all over by the time Mr Blair was
re-elected on June 7.

ENDS


from Alan & Rosie