Authorities have confirmed another case of foot-and-mouth disease among a herd of cattle in Surrey.
The highly infectious virus has been detected on a farm in Egham (see map below), around 30 miles from the two outbreaks that happened in July and August.
A 10km (6.2 mile) control zone centred on the affected farm has been put in place, and cattle from the herd are being culled.
The farm comprises a number of separate parcels of land and a single protection zone will be put in place which extends a three kilometres radius from each of them, and a surveillance zone of 10 kilometres radius beyond that. Footpaths will be closed in the protection zone
UK Chief Veterinary Officer, Debby Reynolds said: "At this stage we have not identified the strain or origin of this outbreak.
"The situation remains uncertain, and I urge all animal keepers to be vigilant for signs of disease, practice stringent biosecurity measures, including the movement ban and licensing conditions."
“The containment and eradication of Foot and Mouth Disease is our top priority. This is why we have moved swiftly to put in place a temporary control zone while we investigate this development.
The National Farmers Union has said it is "extremely concerned" at the development.
Liberal Democrats Defra spokesman Chris Huhne said: "If this incident is confirmed as foot-and-mouth, the farming community will be rightly angry and depressed that the likely failings of biosecurity have continued.
Shadow Defra secretary Peter Ainsworth added: "This latest suspected outbreak is another bitter blow to the farming community which has just allowed itself to breathe a sigh of relief after the last outbreak."
The development comes at a time when the restrictions imposed after the previous outbreaks were being lifted.
Yesterday, EU vets had agreed to declare Britain free of foot-and-mouth disease and allow a resumption of meat, dairy and livestock exports from November 9th.
Tonight’s race meeting at Kempton is set to go ahead despite the return of the disease just miles from the Surrey course.