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FMD - Link to Pirbright

07 August 2007

It has just been reported that the HSE investigation has concluded there is a "strong probability" that the virus originated from laboratories at Pirbright - being the same strain as that found on the first infected farm.  HSE could not yet specify which laboratory and was undertaking further tests whose results might be available next weeek..  Both laboratores handled the strain between 14th July and 25 July: the IAH on a very small scale, Merial with 10,000 litres

The risks that it had been transmitted by air or water was "negligible"  but it could have been the result of human movement: a "real possibility".  There was no evidence for working practices or incidents to have led to a release.  There was only a limited period when the wind would have been sufficient.  There were some bio-security issues over the effluent treatment system for Merial and part of IAH. and while further investigations into waterborne transmission are in hand this risk also seemed "negligible" given the required coincidence of factors.

Further investigation of possible release through human movement is being "urgently investigated"..

Professor Spratt of Imperial Collge, London is conducting an independent review of bio-security arrangements.

HSE has advised DEFRA that there is no reason to stop IAH from operating but further work, especially on the drainage system, is needed before Merial can resume operations with live pathogens.

DEFRA announced earlier today: "The Secretary of State Hilary Benn also agreed today that due to the exceptional circumstances, payment would be made for secondary cleansing and disinfection on the two infected premises". 


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