Third UK foot-and-mouth case in Northumberland

 

A third British case of foot-and-mouth has been confirmed in Northumberland, in a further blow to hopes that the region had beaten the disease.

All three cases are within about five miles of each other and 'draconian' new controls have been unveiled for the region in a bid to prevent further outbreaks of the virus.

Farmers in Northumberland, where the original case of the disease was confirmed in February, are said to be devastated by the latest blow to their hopes of recovery.

Two of the affected farmers were said to have bought animals from Hexham market, raising the prospect that infected animals could also have been transferred to other farms.

Officials said yesterday they would be using 'draconian' measures to stamp out the disease in the area. They will introduce "Blue Box" restrictions around the infected farms.

The regulation, used to control a cluster of cases in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, last month, designates an area in which all animal movements are banned, apart from those licensed to be sent directly to slaughter.

Any resurgence of the disease at this time of the year is seen as a double blow as it is considered easier to kill off in summer. It thrives in the cold, wet conditions of autumn and winter.

PA