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The BBC's Richard Bilton
"The fear is that there would be another case -- tonight there is"
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The BBC's Neil Dickson
"This virus is as disastrous as it is contagious"
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The BBC's Janet Cohen
"For a farming community already on its knees, the next week will be a very long time"
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Farmer David Lloyd remembering the 1967 outbreak
"The town of Oswestry became a ghost town"
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Food safety advisor Dr. Richard North
"We have an open border situation and it is very difficult to control imports"
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Thursday, 22 February, 2001, 21:12 GMT
Third case of farm disease confirmed
A pig
An abattoir in Surrey has been given the all clear
A third case of foot-and-mouth disease has been confirmed at a farm in Essex.

Ministry of Agriculture officials said the latest case was identified at a cattle farm inside the 10-mile exclusion zone set up around an abattoir and farm near Brentwood, in Essex, where the disease was first found in pigs on Wednesday.

A farm in Heddon-on-the-Wall in Northumberland has also been subjected to a five-mile movement restriction area following suspected cases of foot-and-mouth.

It will be the death knell for some farmers who are already at the end of their tether

Ben Gill
NFU Chairman
A Maff spokesman said the case was linked to the first confirmed outbreak at the Essex abattoir.

Maff has issued a warning against all non-essential visits to livestock farms in an attempt to contain the outbreak.

Britain's livestock farmers not yet affected are living in fear of an outbreak of the highly contagious disease.

The announcement comes after a suspected case of foot-and-mouth caused an abattoir in Surrey to be sealed off.

The five-mile animal exclusion zone at the Chitty Food Group slaughterhouse, in Guildford, was later lifted.

Click here to see exclusion zone areas.

Two farms in Buckinghamshire and the Isle of Wight also have exclusion zones around them and restrictions are in place at two farms in Gloucestershire and Yorkshire.

Hundreds more across Britain have been told to prepare for investigation by Ministry of Agriculture inspectors.

Experts are desperately trying to discover the source of the outbreak - the first in the UK in 20 years - but the full extent of the crisis will not be known for another week.

Foot-and-mouth, a viral disease which causes blisters on the mouth and hooves of livestock, is highly contagious but poses little threat to humans.

Pigs on Farringford Farm, Isle of Wight
Exclusion zone: Farringford Farm, Isle of Wight
Meanwhile, UK farmers are starting to count the cost of the total ban on exports of British livestock, meat and milk.

Prices for animals in the UK have already fallen by around 25%.

Peter Kingwill, chairman of the Livestock Auctioneers' Association, said the price of live sheep has dropped from 1.20 a kilo to 1 and was expected to fall to 90p.

"We particularly fear for the sheep market which is now huge in Britain following the BSE crisis," he said.

Travel restrictions

The European Commission has banned all exports of British livestock, meat and dairy products, and a 10-mile exclusion zone has been placed around the Essex abattoir.

The estimated cost of the ban has been put at 8m a week.

All farmers with livestock are being urged to check their animals for signs of the virus, which causes blisters on the mouth and hooves of livestock but poses little threat to humans.

Foot-and-mouth restrictions
Slaughterhouse at Little Warley, Essex, cordoned off
Exclusion zones around two farms in Buckinghamshire
Exclusion zone around farm on Isle of Wight
Restrictions on farm in Stroud, Gloucestershire
Restrictions on farm in Goole, East Yorkshire
Exclusion zone around abattoir in Guildford lifted
Movement restrictions on farm in Northumberland

The sick bullock which sparked the scare at the Guildford abattoir has since been slaughtered.

Tests on the animal ruled out foot and mouth disease.

The chairman of the National Farming Union Ben Gill has warned that if foot-and-mouth spreads out of the exclusion zones farmers will be hit hard.

He also urged people not to travel into rural areas, as it could help to spread the virulent disease.

Other measures in place to curb the spread of the disease include a suspension of hunting for seven days, cancellation of Sunday's point to point meeting at High Easter near Chelmsford, and the closure of the National Trust farm at Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire.

Maff has also advised the Royal Mail that, although the disease posed no risk to humans, postmen delivering to infected farms risked transferring the disease on their shoes and tyres.

The Royal Mail said it had policies "to deal with all eventualities" and would do everything possible to make sure its workers did not become carriers of the disease.

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