HC Deb 04 November 1993 vol 231 c311W
Mr. David Nicholson

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what increase there has been in incidents of(a) brucellosis and (b) warble fly infection in cattle since 1 January; to what extent these incidents have been caused by imported cattle; and if she will make a statement on the measures she is taking.

Mr. Soames

Brucella abortus has been isolated from cattle on one farm this year and serological evidence of infection found on a further nine farms up to the end of October. This is the first isolation of brucella abortus in Great Britain since 1990 but positive serological reactions, which may have been caused by cross reaction with another organism, were found on 12 farms in 1992. The origin of the last outbreak is still under investigation. Action is being taken to trace any animals which have been in contact with the infected cattle and to prevent the spread of infection.

Clinical cases of serological evidence of warble fly were recorded on 107 premises in Great Britain in 1993 compared with none in 1992. All the cases recorded in 1993 were directly linked to imported cattle. Seventy-one of the premises have been released from all controls following satisfactory treatment. The remaining 36 premises will be released from controls when compulsory autumn treatment has been completed. We have been in touch with the French authorities and have received assurances from them that they will not certify for export animals showing clinical signs of warble fly infestation. We are also seeking further safeguards from the Community to prevent the importation of cattle in which the infestation is not yet clinically evident and are reassessing the role of compulsory post-import treatment.

Mr. Marlow

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what cattle diseases have reappeared in the United Kingdom since 1 January; how this has come about; and what action is being taken to prevent the importation of cattle diseases from other parts of the EC.

Mr. Soames

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 3 November to my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Mr. Nicholson).