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Karen Eggert    (301) 734-7280
Angela Harless (202) 720-4623


WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2007--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced that effective today it is lifting trade restrictions imposed on Northern Ireland after foot-and mouth disease (FMD) was detected in Surrey, England, Aug. 3.

Since that time, Northern Ireland has provided information to APHIS documenting that officials took immediate steps to close their borders and prevent the introduction of FMD.  Based on this information, APHIS is confident that Northern Ireland is FMD-free and that trade can safely resume.  Trade restrictions remain in place for the rest of the United Kingdom.  The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, which has responsibility for safeguarding U.S. ports of entry, has been notified of the policy change.

After confirming FMD in Surrey, APHIS immediately prohibited all imports of susceptible animals and most related animal products from the United Kingdom, which includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  This action was taken to safeguard U.S. agriculture until APHIS received official reports and updates from the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, regarding its FMD status. 

On Aug. 3, 2007, Northern Ireland similarly placed immediate restrictions on all imports of FMD-susceptible livestock and their products from Great Britain.  In addition, agricultural officials in Northern Ireland traced all FMD-susceptible livestock imported from Great Britain in the days leading up to the outbreak.  These animals were identified, placed under movement restrictions, and inspected.  No clinical signs suggestive of FMD were detected in any animals, and none of the animals were imported from the county where the outbreak occurred.

FMD is a highly contagious viral disease of cattle, swine and other cloven-hooved animals.  FMD is not transmissible from animals to humans, but it does have serious implications for animal agriculture in any country where the disease is detected. USDA has a strong system in place for detecting and responding to outbreaks of foreign animal diseases, including FMD and also places trade restrictions on regions where the disease is detected.   USDA will continue to closely monitor the situation in the United Kingdom.


Note to Reporters:  USDA news releases, program announcements and media advisories are available on the Internet.  Go to the APHIS news release page at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom.   Also, anyone with an e-mail address can sign up to receive APHIS press releases automatically.  Send an e-mail message to lyris@mdrdlyriss10.aphis.usda.gov and leave the subject blank.  In the message, type “subscribe press_releases.”


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