Worldwide Travel Spreads Risk of Cross-Border Infection

Article excerpt

Byline: COLIN ADAMSON

AS SCIENTISTS struggle to uncover the source of the growing foot-and-mouth crisis a senior United Nations animal welfare expert today spelled out the enormous risk of spreading the disease through worldwide travel and tourism.

Dr Yves Cheneau, a head officer of the Food and Agriculture Organisa-tion, said cross-border human carriers had been one of the main risks identified by the European Commission for the control of foot-and-mouth disease.

Infected parts of East Asia and Turkey may be two of the areas where the current virus originated.

He said: "Last year the research group met in order to discuss the risk and clearly identified that not only the movement of animals but also the movement of food by tourists, by immigrants, and so on can present a real danger." A sandwich brought by someone from overseas on a plane could be one of the many possibilities."

Dr Paul Kitching, of the Institute for Animal Health, agreed there were millions of possible ways the virus could have journeyed to Britain. …