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Institute for Animal Health statement on Health and Safety Executive Report

7 August 2007

Since the report of Foot and Mouth Disease in Surrey at the end of last week, we have reported publicly on information as it emerged. Our early investigations showed all our biosecurity procedures to be operating properly. We stressed that this was an early review; and we continued to explore all procedures and potential sources of accidental escape, even before the strain of virus was known, and specifically in areas of its use once we had identified it. 

The Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright Laboratory, is pleased that it has been allowed to continue to operate under its normal high level of biosecurity. Our scientists continue their vital work for Government on the current outbreak under our normal strict biosecurity measures. The Institute is obviously concerned about the lack of unambiguous evidence at this stage of what has happened and will continue to review our own biosecurity systems as new data become available and will continue to work closely with HSE and with the Spratt inquiry.

Institute for Animal Health staff are continuing to carry out tests on the strains from the affected animals and on our own reference strains.  We continue to be concerned about the effect on the farming community in the UK and you can be assured that our staff are working as hard as possible to provide evidence for these inquiries.

The Institute for Animal Health remains committed to scientific research relevant to vaccine development, and to close working relationships with Defra and Merial to help ensure that vaccines are developed as safely and as efficiently as possible.

Professor Martin Shirley
Institute for Animal Health



Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382