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Britain reports two new cases of foot and mouth disease
( 2001-09-10 09:54 ) (7 )

Two new suspected cases of foot and mouth disease have been reported in Leicestershire, central England, an area which has remained free of the disease for four months, the Agriculture Ministry said Sunday.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said 37 animals had been slaughtered as a precautionary measure on two farms -- one at Copt Oak near Loughborough and the other near Hinckley.

Blood samples have been taken and authorities have imposed a three kilometer (two mile) security zone around the farms, but there are no immediate plan for a cull, the spokeswoman said.

The last recorded case of foot and mouth disease in the county of Leicestershire was at Ashby de la Zouch on April 23.

The threshold of 2,000 sites of the disease was breached last Monday after three new cases were confirmed in Cumbria, the county most affected by the disease.

Since the epidemic was first detected on February 20, more than four million animals have been slaughtered and 15,000 others are still waiting to be destroyed.

The British government had said it hoped the disease would be completely eradicated by the autumn, but it now looks like it may be the end of the year before the epidemic is beaten. 



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