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Institute for Animal Health - Pirbright Laboratory

4 August 2007

Scientists at the Institute for Animal Health (IAH) have worked continuously since the identification of a suspected Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak yesterday to confirm the infection and to identify the type and strain of virus responsible.

IAH scientists have now identified the virus strain as very close to 01/BFS, a strain isolated originally in 1967 and propagated as a Reference Laboratory strain used for research and commercial vaccine production. It has not circulated in Europe for 40 years.

The Pirbright site houses two laboratories - the IAH Laboratory and the laboratory of Merial, a world-leading manufacturer of animal vaccines. 

IAH operates under strict biosecurity procedures. We have no evidence that these have been breached at the IAH laboratory. IAH is Defra's Reference Laboratory for the diagnosis of FMD in the UK and, based on our high-quality research, we provide scientific advice to Defra on emergency measures.

IAH is concerned for all individuals affected by the current FMD outbreak.

IAH welcomes the independent review to determine the source of this outbreak.



Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382