Proposals for UK Animal Disease Institute

UK - A recent review of the way that the UK government handled its Foot and Mouth outbreak last year has prompted calls to set up a scientific institute to tackle any future threat of exotic animal diseases.
calendar icon 13 March 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

The report into last year's foot and mouth outbreak among cattle in Surrey, published yesterday, described the premises of the existing Institute for Animal Health at Pirbright, from which the virus escaped, as "shabby and dilapidated", says a Guardian news story.

The inquiry was chaired by Dr Iain Anderson, who wrote a report on the 2001 outbreak and examined whether lessons had been learned. His report, Foot and Mouth Disease 2007, described the initial leak of the virus from a fractured drain in the Pirbright facilities as "an avoidable event ... that should never have happened". But he concluded that the government's response was relatively swift and effective.

The Guardian says that one of his main proposals was the creation of an expanded institute for research into human and animal diseases. "The Institute for Animal Health (IAH) - a world leader in the field of exotic animal diseases - needs to be repositioned as a new National Institute of Infectious Diseases, supported by multiple funding sources from government and elsewhere," the report said. The new institute would concentrate on research into viral diseases, Anderson suggested, but also help in emergencies.

View the Guardian story by clicking here.
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