Foot-and-mouth negative in Kent

Tests for foot-and-mouth disease in a flock of sheep at Rye, east Sussex, were negative, officials at Defra said today.The temporary control zone, which was imposed yesterday morning as a precaution while laboratory tests were carried out, has been lifted with immediate effect.

Tests for foot-and-mouth disease in a flock of sheep at Rye, east Sussex, were negative, officials at Defra said today.

The temporary control zone, which was imposed yesterday morning as a precaution while laboratory tests were carried out, has been lifted with immediate effect. A 3km zone blocking livestock movements was a precaution.

Defra officials said that a total of 41 cases of bluetongue has been confirmed to date - all in Suffolk and several in Essex.

Most of the cases have been found in cattle, including several near Lowestoft, although the Ipswich area - where the first case of bluetongue was identified on Saturday, September 22 - remains the confirmed cluster.

The first case of bluetongue has also been confirmed in Denmark as the virus has spread further into northern Europe.

It was found in a sheep flock on the Danish island of Lolland and takes the EU total of animals infected by bluetongue to 23,500 since August 2006.

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There have been a total of eight confirmed cases of foot-and-mouth disease since the first outbreak at Pirbright on Friday, August 3 - all in Surrey.

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