As the hunt for the source of the outbreak of FMD in Surrey goes on, nes comes of a complicating twist in the tale. A worker at the Institute of Animal Health, the Government side of the site at Pirbright which it shares with Merial, thus far the Government’s preferred candidate for blame, has apparently been diagnosed with Legionnaires Disease.

Thus far no evidence has been found positively to connect his or her illness with the IAH lab but, given that faulty air intake/outtake/ventilation systems constitute a prime suspect for the release of the virus, the connection of Legionnaire’s Disease to faulty or contaminated air-conditioning systems will doubtless have set alarm bells ringing. Legionnaire’s is often associated with contaminated air-conditioning systems.

It would be ironic if, after all the effort to finger Merial for the outbreak, it was found to originate in the Government’s own lab.

Nothing is proved, one must recall, but Hilary Benn will no doubt be well at the Andrex tonight.

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