UK 2001 foot and mouth epidemic
Summary of Statistics
Laboratory test results
Welfare animals culled
Total animals culled
(source of statistics., DEFRA) contact J Holms statistics
The EU standard definition of a case of FMD (Directive 85/511/ec) is one where laboratory tests confirm the presence of disease. Under EU standards, in UK 2001 FMD epidemic, of the 6 million animals slaughtered only 14.4%, were infected with FMD.
The epidemiological models used to analyse the epidemic included negative and untested cases as though they were laboratory confirmed cases.
In animals infected with FMD, viraemia and antibodies can be detected in the blood, virus can be isolated from lesions. Viraemia may be detectable 17‑74 hours after exposure to FMD virus. Antibodies may be detected 3‑7 days after exposure. Clinical signs (lesions) may be detected 4‑9 days after exposure.
In 1967, of a sample of clinically infected animals 1.7% tested negative at laboratory test.
In 2001, of a sample of animals diagnosed as clinically infected 33% tested negative at laboratory test. Of 1551 samples found to be positive, 84% returned a positive test result within 24hrs. (Elliot Morley Parliamentary question).
Culling of dangerous contacts and contiguous premises
Up to 50% of the culling of healthy animals occurred around infected farms with nonpositive laboratory test results. Excluding the 6 most heavily infected counties, in the remaining 24 counties, up to 64% of the culling of healthy animals occurred around infected farms with nonpositive laboratory test results.
Delays in slaughter
Although delays in slaughter did decline as the epidemic progressed, there is no evidence to
show that the target of slaughter within 24 hours was ever achieved. The epidemiologists
report instances of delays in slaughtered of 1 to 3 days through May, June and July.
The epidemiologists stressed, throughout the 2001 epidemic, that rapid slaughter of infected
premises was essential if the epidemic was to be brought rapidly under control,
Up to 85.6% (over 5 million) of the animals slaughtered in the UK 2001 FMD epidemic
were not infected nor incubating the disease at the time of slaughter.
There is no evidence to show that the target of slaughter of infected premises within 24
hours of clinical diagnosis was ever achieved. It is highly likely that delays in slaughter
explain why 2001 UK FMD epidemic was not brought under control once movement
restrictions and biosecurity measures were imposed.