The Times has a report today "Fresh outbreak of virus suspected as scientists point to sabotage as cause" which contains noteworthy comment on 2 matters relating to the origin of the FMV outbreak.
1. Current IAH Director Dr. Martin Shirley said that measures to ensure viruses did not enter the water system from his organisation were working properly. A back-up effluent treatment system that further treats water leaving the IAH and Merial had no reported problems. Concluding the Times to say that "Concerns that the FMD outbreak was caused by live virus escaping into the environment via the Pirbright research facility’s drainage system were effectively ruled out last night".
2. Dr Andrew King, a former head of molecular biology at the IAH, has been drafted in to help.
He told The Times: “As far as I am concerned the authorities have failed to find any chink in the armoury of the establishment’s bio-security. What you are left with is human movement, which is not a matter for the institute, it’s a police matter. It’s very, very unlikely that it could be spread by accident. People do not spread the disease easily.”
Dr King said he thought it likely that Merial would also be given a clean bill of health. “That establishment is inspected by Defra every six months. Defra grants the licence. Defra says it’s OK,” he said.
He also added that the longest period after which the virus had ever been recovered from the human body after heavy exposure was 48 hours, and that involved a full body search. To pass the virus from human to cow “you would have to hug a cow and breathe down its nose”, he said. Which is an alarming picture but we recently saw that is what Hindus do with cows who have TB.
The Times AKA Ben McIntyre, also tells us today the Government spends just £180,000 on bee research, a figure that has shrunk continuously over recent years. (Almost as fast as the bee population).
Bees are dying across the world at a terrifying rate. The apian epidemic started in the United States, where entire populations of honey bees have simply vanished in the phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder (CCD). At least a quarter of America’s 2.5 million honeybee colonies have been wiped out already .
If you really don't want to sleep at night Google "Bluetongue" and read how this bovine viral disease is spread by flies (midges) of the Culicoides genus. The South African vector is C.imicola which appears / seems to have spread northwards, carried on winds or as a response (?) to global warming.In the US, " “bluetongue is a major obstacle to exportation of U.S. ruminants and ruminant products and probably affects the United States more than most countries.”
The good news is that IAH are on the case and working hard at it .... In August 2006, Dutch authorities reported the first ever case of bluetongue in Northern Europe. Since an initial report on June 14th in North Rhine Westphalia, clinical and subclinical cases have been reported from sheep and cattle in Germany, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands over 2,000 herds so far have been infected.
IAH Pirbright is an International Reference Laboratory for bluetongue, and provides diagnostic services to the European Community (EC), the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The Institute is working closely with several authorities, including the European Food Safety Authority, on the current outbreak.
Which shows how essential it is the Institute is properly funded, staffed and equipped and supported.