Key recommendations on FMD and other infectious diseases

Royal Society inquiry recommendations on infectious diseases affecting livestock

source: Veterinary Record vol 151 no 4, July 27 2002 
starts p98, 2 pages long

The Royal Society's (RS) report of its inquiry into infectious diseases affecting livestock, such as foot and mouth disease (FMD), has been issued, the third of three inquiries into the 2001 outbreak of FMD. The RS inquiry looks at prevention of and responses to outbreaks of infectious diseases coming from abroad. The aim of policies should be to prevent disease coming into Britain, and localize outbreaks when they happen. The report calls for better British contingency planning, and a British and European Union early warning system.

The report sees vaccination as a clear long-term solution for FMD and some other diseases like swine fever, though in the short term, trade implications and technical problems mean that no policy change is likely. Precautionary measures, such as restrictions on movements, should be used more. Culling, and rapid diagnosis are still important, and emergency vaccinations should also be considered. Meat from vaccinated animals not infected with FMD can go into the human food chain. A regulatory framework is needed for this, as well as practical arrangements. There should also be a national strategy for research on animal diseases, the report argues.