Published in Scottish Farmer 21st Dec 2001

 

Disease risk lingers

THE RISK of foot-and-mouth breaking out today was as great as it was last February,

according to a leading research scientist Dr Peter Nettleton. of the Moredun Research

Institute, and a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh's committee conducting an

Independent inquiry into foot-and-mouth, said the danger lay in bringing disease in from abroad.

He also said that if the virus did breach the somewhat non-existent import barriers then the current livestock movement restrictions would not allow it to make much progress across the country.

 

Dr Nettleton also dismissed control by vaccination at the present time, adding that if such a policy had been implemented we would still be in the middle of the epidemic.

 

Professor lan Cunningham, chairman of the Royal Society's committee - speaking after the inaugural meeting in Edinburgh - said the remit of the Scottish inquiry went beyond the farming industry, with terms that included the effect of the outbreak on tourism.

 

He indicated that the principal objective of the Scottish inquiry was to learn lessons from the outbreak and then suggest ways in which any future disease outbreak could be dealt with more effectively.

 

Professor Cunningham said he hoped to publish his report in late May, or early June, 2002. It would, he stressed, be a short report with a limited number of

recommendations with the focus on the Scottish context.

 

He added that there would be three open public meetings. One in the centre of the area of the disease outbreak, Dumfries and Galloway, another in the Borders; where a small number of outbreaks caused a large amount of damage. The third will be held above the Forth/Clyde line where no confirmed cases were recorded.