Sunday, 12 October 2014

Health watchdog contradicts claims Devon beavers pose human health risk

Emails show Public Health England does not believe beavers on river Otter would increase risk to human health from disease


theguardian.com, Wednesday 8 October 2014 18.25 BST

The UK’s health watchdog appears to have privately contradicted claims by the environment department that a family of escaped beavers in Devon pose a risk to human health.

Officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have repeatedly said that the beavers, thought to be the first in the wild in England for centuries, could threaten human health because they may be carrying a disease that the UK is currently free of.

But Defra documents and emails, released under Freedom of Information rules, reveal that while Public Health England (PHE) is concerned about the disease, it does not believe the beavers would increase the risk to human health from the tapeworm, Echinococcus multilocularis (EM).

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