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Sunday, 16 September, 2001, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
Cumbria on fresh foot-and-mouth alert
Sheep in Cumbrian field
Vets fear fields packed with sheep could cause spread of disease
Two roads in Cumbria have been closed by government officials as they try to halt the spread of the foot-and-mouth virus in the county.

It is only the second time such action has been taken in the eight months since the disease was first identified in Cumbria.

Two minor roads linking the village of Little Asby with the Lune Valley between Tebay and Kirby Stephen will be out of bounds for two weeks.

The move follows two outbreaks on the edge of the area known as the Penrith Spur where tens of thousands of animals have been culled over the past three months.

Disease in the UK
Total cases: 2,019
Slaughtered: 3,866,000
Awaiting slaughter: 6,000
Awaiting disposal: 2,000

Farmers there have been largely unable to sell or move stock since February.

Government vets fear the fields, packed with cattle and sheep, could cause the disease to spread south towards the Lancashire border.

Only people who live in the handful of farms and houses along the roads, and those on essential business, will be allowed to pass after their vehicles have been disinfected.

Risk categories

New regulations to fight foot-and-mouth come into force on Tuesday.

Under the rules the country is divided into three categories - "high risk", "at risk" and "disease-free" - by county.

Counties considered high risk will be subjected to stricter controls than those free of the disease, where restrictions on animal movements will be lessened.

Overall, there will be more movement of livestock, but under very tight controls.

Last week the government announced a ban on transporting sheep out of Devon as the fight against foot-and-mouth headed into autumn.

But Scotland has been announced officially free of foot-and-mouth, and the last infection restrictions have been lifted.

See also:

10 Sep 01 | UK
Fresh foot-and-mouth scare
07 Sep 01 | Glasgow 2001
Fresh calls for farm virus vaccination
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