MOVEMENT of people, livestock and vehicles has been blamed for much of the spread of foot and mouth in the Settle area.

The joint report by chief scientific adviser David King and chief veterinary officer Jim Scudamore stated that 14 of the first 20 cases examined are linked by such movements. The other 6 cases are still under investigation.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 31 confirmed cases in the Settle cluster.

The following day came news of a cluster of four cases in Lancashire and there were fears the disease was spreading south down the Ribble valley.

Their report says the spread of disease has, inadvertently, been exacerbated by the nature of farming practices in the area.

Many farms have parcels of land away from the home premises, including some fell and moorland. Consequently there have been many movements of people, vehicles and equipment, as well as some 350 licensed animal movements to carry out normal animal husbandry and working practices within the area. All licensed movements have, of course, now stopped within the Settle area.

The report highlights the continued need for everyone to carry out vital biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of disease through movements of any type. "We cannot stress this highly enough".

Based on the information available to date, the apparent source for the Settle cluster may be previously undetected disease in sheep in one of the farms.

Investigations into how infection entered these sheep are continuing.

Key biosecurity measures are:

- Prevent contact between different groups of livestock.

- Minimise the number of journeys you make to visit stock, without compromising their welfare.

- Carry out, at all times, the most rigorous cleansing and disinfection of yourselves, equipment and vehicles.

Further guidance on biosecurity measures can be found on the MAFF website (

- On Tuesday came word of another outbreak in Devon, the first there for over a week.

Updated: 09:28 Thursday, May 31, 2001