As a second case of the disease was yesterday confirmed within the 3km protection zone set up around last Friday's outbreak at a farm in Pirbright, near Guildford, the report, by the Health and Safety Executive, said there was a “strong probability” the virus had come from an animal research site located three miles from the farm.
The site houses the government's Institute for Animal Health and a private pharmaceutical company called Merial.
The likelihood of an airbourne release of the virus or a direct waterborne link was “negligible”, added environment secretary Hilary Benn, and release by human movement would now be investigated as a matter of urgency.
All staff at the site are expected to be questioned and footpaths within the 3km protection zone have been closed.
Meanwhile, supermarkets have denied reports that they are suffering from meat shortages. A spokesman for Tesco told the Daily Telegraph there were no shortages but added that it had “contingency plans in place”.