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Foot-and-mouth spreads in England

Eight hundred pigs and 40 cattle were culled as a precaution Thursday after the foot-and-mouth virus was found in southern England.

Scientists said the strain in Egham is the same one responsible for the outbreak last month at Pirbright in Surry, 10 miles away, The Telegraph reported. They believe it may have been carried to Egham on the wheels of a tractor or other agricultural vehicle, the newspaper said. The new cases raise fears of a wider outbreak.

The Egham Royal Show, an agricultural exposition, attracted about 5,000 people to the field on August Bank Holiday. While animals were banned from the show, the virus could have been carried to other areas on car tires. The outbreak is believed to have started with the release of the virus from a laboratory through faulty drains.

In 2001, foot-and-mouth disease spread across England. About 7 million animals were killed, and the outbreak is estimated to have cost $17 billion. That outbreak was traced to illegally imported meat. (m&c.com)