At least three American universities have cancelled study-abroad programmes in the United Kingdom and Ireland and another has banned Europeans from its agricultural department because of foot-and-mouth disease.
Michigan State University has cancelled a summer programme in the UK and Ireland for 30 agriculture students and faculty. It has also recalled a student who was on an exchange to the Greenmount College of Agriculture and Horticulture in Northern Ireland, which was closed when the disease was detected among animals on its campus. Purdue University has cancelled two of its students' summer farm stays in Ireland.
Edward Ingraham, director of Michigan State's study abroad office, said:
"For an agricultural programme that visits various agricultural facilities, if those facilities are off-limits to visitors, the academic purposes for which the programme exists cannot occur."
The students, many of whom come from farming families, said that they were also worried about bringing the epidemic home with them.
"Any chance of bringing the disease back here would be devastating," Michigan State student Caroline Jansen, the daughter of a midwestern farmer, said.
The University of Wisconsin has begun to limit foreign visitors to its College of Agriculture, turning away a group of 50 German farmers. Mark Cook, chairman of the campus animal care committee, said the rules were put in place to guard against carrying or spreading disease to animals.