The government’s chief veterinary officer has praised farmers for swift action after a suspected case of foot-and-mouth disease proved to be negative.
A 10km-radius zone temporary control zone was declared on Thursday (23 June) after the suspected outbreak on a pig farm between the village of Hockwold-cum-Wilton, Norfolk, and Brandon, Suffolk.
The zone was a precautionary measure restricting the movement of susceptible livestock in and out of the zone. It was imposed while tests were undertaken and the presence of the disease ruled out 24 hours later.
Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: “Following swift action in response to this possible case I can confirm that testing has enabled me to fully rule out presence of foot-and-mouth disease.”
Describing it as a stressful time all around, Ms Middlemiss added: Huge thanks to colleagues at the Pirbright Institute for for working through the night to get us to this conclusion – and to the farmer and staff involved for all their help.”
Foot-and-mouth disease in pigs is indistinguishable from swine vesicular disease – so both are treated as suspected foot-and-mouth until tests prove otherwise. The main signs are sudden lameness, which may spread quickly among the herd.