§ Mr. Biffen
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science to what extent employees at the Animal Virus Research Institute at Pirbright have suffered illness following the handling of infected material in relation to swine vesicular disease; and if she will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Thatcher
So far 12 employees at the Animal Virus Research Institute, following illnesses of varying severity, have developed antibodies believed to be indicative of swine vesicular disease virus. I understand that the differential diagnosis of this disease from other mild virus infections in man has only recently been established and the examination of medical data on the staff is still in progress. All the patients have made a normal recovery. No cases are recorded other than in staff having direct contact with the virus in the laboratory. The public health authorities have been informed and the existing safety precautions in handling the virus at the institute have been intensified.