The opinions of a number of recognised world experts on foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) were sought in order to answer key questions relating to the importation of the disease into European countries from countries outside Europe. In addition, their opinions were sought on where in Europe a primary outbreak of FMD was most likely to occur and the number of outbreaks likely to occur within European countries in the next five years. The Balkans group of countries was considered to be the most likely group within Europe to have a primary outbreak of FMD and also most likely to have the highest number of primary outbreaks. Turkey was considered to be the country outside Europe which was most likely to be the source of an outbreak within Europe as a whole, and the illegal importation of livestock was considered to be the most likely route of introduction of FMD into Europe. Results specific to the Islands group of countries, which included the UK and Ireland, suggested that this group was likely to have a mean of one primary outbreak of FMD in the five years from September 2000, and that the importation of foodstuffs by people entering those countries from Turkey was the most likely source of an outbreak.
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