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Washington in brief

April 18, 2001 The Washington Post

The director of the only U.S. lab that studies and tests for foot-and-mouth disease said yesterday that the chances of an outbreak in the country are "quite great" given the amount of travel between the United States and Britain.

If the virus has already reached the United States, it could have been in the country for only 24 to 48 hours because "signs of the disease would appear quite quickly," said David Huxsoll, director of the Department of Agriculture's Plum Island laboratory in New York.

Foot-and-mouth disease is harmless to humans [Common misconception] but has devastated livestock in Britain, where herds are being destroyed to prevent its spread.

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