The results of epidemiological investigations suggest that livestock on up to 79 premises, spread widely throughout the British Isles, may have been exposed to infection by foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) virus by the movement of infected sheep before the first case of the disease was confirmed at an abattoir in Essex on February 20, 2001. A further 36 premises may have been infected by this route before the national livestock movement ban was imposed on February 23.
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