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Contagious cattle disease found in England

Aug. 4, 2007 at 9:52 AM

LONDON, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- British ranchers were banned from transporting cattle Saturday in an effort to contain an outbreak of the devastating foot-and-mouth disease.

An estimated 60 cases of the highly contagious disease were confirmed in cattle on a farm outside the village of Wanborough near Guildford in Surrey, the BBC News reported Saturday.

"Speed is of the essence here" to stop the virus from spreading, said Hugh Pennington, a microbiologist at Aberdeen University.

It's the first outbreak of foot-and-mouth since 2001 when between 6.5 million and 10 million animals were killed to contain the disease, which caused an estimated $17 billion losses for British agriculture and tourism.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown canceled his vacation and returned to London for meetings on the potential crisis Saturday.

Foot-and-mouth disease rarely affects humans and is so mild when it does, medical treatment is not needed.

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