Friday, 12 October 2007

Official case numbers have reached a staggering 30 thousand plus

(red areas show bluetongue Zone F i.e. BTV-8 affected areas)
Astonishing and alarming spread in Europe Warmwell is very grateful to Sabine Zentis for this overview of present numbers of BTV-8 cases in Europe.
As she says,
".. the official case numbers have reached a staggering
30,000+ it is incomprehensible that so far no common strategy for the countries affected has been published."

We too are wondering what conclusions can be reached about possible future strategies from the various consultations that have been going on throughout Europe to combat "this major crisis for the livestock sector of Western Europe"

DEFRA agrees to movement to abattoirs - but the French system is still much more free

"new measures to relieve pressure within the Bluetongue zones" announces DEFRA (Oct 12) "Markets within the Bluetongue Control and Protection Zones will be permitted from midnight Sunday 14 October. The movement of susceptible animals from within the Control and Protection Zones to approved slaughterhouses outside the Bluetongue Zones will also be permitted from this time."

This news was greeted by the Core Stakeholders - but there are complications. "Approved" slaughterhouses means that those outside the Bluetongue Zones have to apply to the Meat Hygiene Service to be allowed to take animals from within the Control and Protection Zones. The conditions under which animals are going to move to slaughter are looking very stringent.
They have to move before dusk - and the time limits, soon to be announced, look very difficult to fulfil.
This contrasts greatly with the situation in France where animals from the PZ can be sent into the BT free zone for breeding or finishing after they have been serologically tested and a "desinsectisation" begun at least 28 days before being removed.
Abattoirs in France must give priority to animals from PZ but they are given 48 hours to process the animals after they leave the restricted zone. See (in french) Fièvre Catarrhale Ovine (FCO)
Note d'Information N° 7

IAH's "rapid diagnosis and detective work" still fails to find active pre-clinical FMD virus quickly enough

IAH BBSRC's Statement14 claims of rapid diagnosis do not make clear that the pen-side tests being used do not - as the state-of-the-art machines used elsewhere do - indicate the presence of pre-clinical desease
"..tests for the presence of virus on infected premises 6 and 7 were done in the evening/night time and daytime, respectively. On both occasions Test 1 (using a lateral flow device, rather like a pregnancy test gave a positive result within an hour. Interestingly, this test was actually performed on the farm (“pen-side”) in the case of IP7"
Perhaps so, but the positive result the test found was for antigen. What we have needed all along was the rapid on-site RT-PCR tests that can find disease in animals before they show any clinical signs at all. It doesn't matter how quickly the penside lateral flow device is used at the lab or on the farm - it is designed to detect antigen and this can only be detected from lesions. The animals must have developed lesions, hence the instruction to look for lesions twice a day, before the penside test can be used at all.

It is so obviously better to pick up infection before it reaches the stage when a number of animals can be seen to be clinically infected.

So although IAH's statement claims that
"A positive result in the very rapid Test 1 is of itself sufficient to show that FMD virus is present. Consequently IAH was able to tell Defra within an hour of the test being started that a premises did indeed have FMD virus, enabling Defra to take action"
the "action" was always going to be along the lines of stable door slamming after the horse was already far away.

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