Evaluation of risks of foot-and-mouth disease in Scotland to assist with decision making during the 2007 outbreak in the UK

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An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) occurred in Surrey on August 3, 2007. A Great Britain-wide ban on livestock movements was implemented immediately. This coincided with the start of seasonal sheep movements off the hills in Scotland; the majority of these animals are sold via markets. The ban therefore posed severe economic and animal-welfare hardships if it was to last through September and beyond. The Scottish Government commissioned an analysis to assess the risk of re-opening markets given the uncertainty about whether FMD had entered Scotland. Tracing of livestock moved from within the risk zone in England between July 16 and August 3 identified contact chains to 12 Scottish premises; veterinary field inspections found a further three unrecorded movements. No signs of infection were found on these holdings. Under the conservative assumption that a single unknown Scottish holding was infected with FMD, an estimate of the time-dependent probability of Scotland being FMD free given no detection was made. Analyses indicated that if FMD was not detected by early to mid-September then it was highly probable that Scotland was FMD free. Risk maps were produced to visualise the potential spread of FMD across Scotland if it was to spread either locally or via market sales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-U41
Number of pages4
JournalVeterinary Record
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2011

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