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Saturday, 25 August, 2001, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Second farm disease case sparks alert
Car being hosed down in Taylor Burn Farm
Taylor Burn: First case in the north-east for 14 weeks
A second new case of foot-and-mouth disease has occurred in the north-east of England, leading to fears that many more new cases could be about to emerge in the region.

Until this week there had been no new reports of foot-and-mouth in Northumberland for about three months.

The new case is at Stonehall farm at Catton - just five miles from where the first new case was confirmed at Taylor Burn Farm at Ninebanks near Allendale, on Thursday.

Disease facts
Total: 1,972
New cases on Saturday: 2
Slaughtered: 3,768,000
Awaiting slaughter: 11,000
Awaiting disposal: 3,000

The farm at the centre of the latest outbreak has 95 cattle and 800 sheep - most of these are expected to be destroyed over the weekend.

But two new cases in two days have left farmers worried about the true extent of the outbreak.

The Newcastle Disease Emergency Control Centre (NDECC) is implementing even more stringent bio-security measures which may include a total ban on all animal movements in the area.

This is a severe blow to our hopes of achieving disease-free status for the north-east

John Bradbury, NDECC

Experts said the outbreak was a "bitter blow", but that a few rogue cases in the twilight phase of the epidemic were to be expected.

There have also been one or two new daily cases in Cumbria over the last weeks.

John Bradbury, regional operations director at the NDECC, said the fresh outbreak mirrored the pattern of the last foot-and-mouth epidemic in 1967.

But he added: "This is a severe blow to our hopes of achieving disease-free status for the north-east and a big disappointment for farmers in the region, as well as vets and others who have been working so hard to eradicate the disease."

Investigators have sealed off the farms and are tracing the origin of the disease.

They believe it is almost certain to have arrived at the remote hillside area by road - attached to animals, people or their vehicles.

An NFU spokesman said: "This is a stark reminder to all livestock producers and people visiting farms to ensure that they are continuing to do everything possible to guard animals against risk."

Disease warning

Experts have already warned the disease could drag on for many months.

Epidemiologist Dr Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College, London, warned this week that the crisis would be harder to control in the poorer weather of autumn and winter if the disease was not eradicated.

Disinfectant applied to straw mat
Farmers are urged to continue with disinfection precautions
He also said foot-and-mouth disease had continued longer than expected because strict movement restrictions and hygiene rules had been breached by some farmers.

Last week, the European Commission (EC) announced it would give the UK 225m in compensation for the foot-and-mouth crisis, with more money expected to follow.

The payout comes as a first instalment, while the EC continues to assess the financial cost to European farmers following the devastating outbreak of the disease.

Under EU farming policy, the commission has to pick up 60% of the cost of an epidemic where whole herds have had to be destroyed.

The new cases come days after the UK's first cattle auction since the outbreak begain, in the Orkney Islands.

The BBC's Christine Stewart
"The slaughter of animals that many thought was over will now be repeated"
Richard Ellison, regional director of the NFU
"We were looking forward to having the final restrictions lifted"
Arthur Griffiths, veterinary manager for DEFRA
"This disease is still out there"
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