The implication here is that samples were taken and tested either before or after slaughter. As Dr Donaldson's letter shows, "Unfortunately, confirmatory laboratory diagnosis during the UK 2001 epidemic was largely abandoned in March 2001 when slaughter on suspicion, a policy based on clinical judgement only, came into operation."
Extract from Defra submission to OIE for DFS
While the first outbreak of disease was formally confirmed by the CVO on the basis of laboratory examination of samples from affected animals, local veterinary staff were subsequently authorised to diagnose disease on the basis of clinical signs alone and before receiving the results of the laboratory examinations, following consultation with a veterinarian at the NDCC who officially confirmed the presence of disease.
When the extent of disease became apparent, SVS veterinary officers were allowed to confirm disease on the basis of clinical signs. Where disease was confirmed on clinical grounds alone, fluid and tissue samples were still taken from clinically affected animals and examined at IAH Pirbright using prescribed OIE tests. Where laboratory examination of samples failed to detect the presence of virus, the case remained confirmed, as did the consequent arrangements for the establishment of 3 km and 10 km protection and surveillance zones and slaughter of animals on contiguous premises.
Pages 14 and 15
Preventive slaughter of animals on hodings at risk of FMD
FMD susceptible species on holdings identified as being at risk of disease (dangerous contacts) as a result of the epidemiological enquiry carried out in connection with each outbreak, were compulsorily destroyed as were FMD susceptible species on all holdings contiguous to an infected premises without waiting for the presence of disease to be confirmed. A target time of 48 hours was set for the animals on contiguous holdings to be destroyed, starting from the time suspect FMD was reported to the Local Disease Control Centre. Where there was clinical evidence of disease on such holdings the presence of disease was confirmed on clinical grounds and samples were sent to IAH for laboratory examination for virological and/or serological examination.
Where there was no clinical evidence of disease, blood samples were taken for serological examination and if FMD antibodies were detected, disease was confirmed on the holding......