Foot-and-mouth arrives in France

First case of foot-and-mouth disease confirmed in France

The first case of foot-and-mouth disease has been confirmed in France after urgent tests were ordered on six suspected animals identified over the weekend. The outbreak is on a dairy farm at Mayenne in northwestern France. This is the first time the infectious disease has been detected on mainland Europe since the outbreak in Britain three weeks ago.

All infected animals were born in France. The herd where the six infected cattle were discovered has already been destroyed and will be incinerated later today. A 3-kilometre exclusion zone has been set up around the farm and a further "surveillance parameter" of 10 kilometres.

Out of all the Member States, France implemented the strictest measures against foot-and-mouth disease. Just days after the first outbreak of foot-and-mouth in Britain, France ordered the destruction of 50,000 sheep imported from Britain in the last four weeks. It was the first to order tests on all "at risk" animals. The French also ordered a ban on all imports of live cattle from Ireland when foot-and-mouth spread to Northern Ireland.

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