Landmark conference discusses role of vaccination in future

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Ten years on from the worst foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in UK history, scientific experts and industry representatives attended a landmark conference at Moredun Research Institute near Edinburgh to discuss the significant role that vaccination could play in any future outbreak of disease.

More than 100 invited delegates – representing farmers, auctioneers, food processors, retailers, scientists, consumers, pharmaceutical companies, vets, Scottish and UK Governments, devolved administrations and Animal Health – attended the conference, titled “Foot and Mouth – Vaccine to Live”.

The tragedy of the FMD outbreak of 2001 left a scar on the industry that still haunts all those who were affected either directly or indirectly. The conference was a timely opportunity both to take stock of the lessons learned from that epidemic, and to look forward at how future control models may look, given the diagnostic advances that are now available and the new international and European framework for foot-and-mouth disease control.

If another FMD outbreak occurs in Scotland or elsewhere in the UK, a policy which sees animals vaccinated to control the disease and then enter the food chain may provide a viable alternative to the mass cull of animals seen during previous epidemics here.