Exotic notifiable animal diseases contingency plans - Scottish Regional Resilience Partnerships' framework: August 2022

Information on how and when operational partners should respond to a suspect or confirmed exotic notifiable animal disease outbreak.

2. Activation

2.1 Actions upon suspicion of disease

2.1.1. Notification

When APHA has been informed of a suspect notifiable disease that requires investigation by an official veterinarian, APHA Scotland will alert relevant operational partners as agreed with the Head of Field Delivery (Scotland). The timing and method of communication to operational partners will be based on a veterinary risk assessment of the likely consequences and impact of the disease suspected. Any email notifications will be on form EDO12 Suspect Disease Notification (see Appendix E). The form will outline the area where the suspect premises is located (but not the full address), species of animals, possible/suspected disease and any restrictions placed on the premises.

2.1.2. Operational partners emergency contact details – Resilience Direct™

A directory of APHA Scotland's operational partners' contact details is maintained by the Scottish Government Disease Control Branch on Resilience Direct[1].

To access this, operational partners will need to have a Resilience Direct account and request to be a member of the user group "Joint APHA and Scottish Government Guest Area". Users must be registered on Resilience Direct with their own organisation before requesting access to this user group.

Importantly, it is the responsibility of each operational partner to ensure that their contact details on this site are kept up-to-date, as this is the information APHA and SG will use to notify you that a veterinary investigation is underway into suspicion of disease in your area. If you require to update your own or your organisation's contact details, please download the change request form from Resilience Direct (example shown at Appendix F). Change request forms should then be emailed to Animal.Health@gov.scot

2.1.3. Premises placed under restriction

The premises where disease is suspected will be placed under restrictions (see para 2.2.3 regarding restriction notices) preventing any movement of anything liable to spread disease, such as livestock, vehicles and visitors. At this stage disease could be confirmed based on clinical grounds, although this is only likely to happen if there is an on-going outbreak and a known epidemiological link to confirmed disease. If disease cannot be ruled out on clinical examination, samples will be taken and sent for laboratory analysis. In some circumstances Scottish Ministers may put in place a Temporary Control Zone (TCZ), which puts in place area-based movement controls of susceptible livestock species and anything liable to spread disease, for a short period of time. The Disease Strategy Group (DSG) (see para 3.1) may be activated by the Scottish Government to co-ordinate and manage the Scottish disease control response at this point, depending on the circumstances. APHA will update operational partners as the veterinary investigation progresses.

2.1.4. Chief Veterinary Officers (CVO) case conference

Upon suspicion of disease, there may be a series of CVO case conferences to discuss emerging issues. The four CVOs from the UK and key policy and veterinary officials from each administration would normally attend, and will consider whether circumstances warrant triggering an amber teleconference.

2.1.5. Amber teleconference

If suspicion of disease is strong, because of emerging laboratory results or a deteriorating clinical picture, an amber teleconference will be held. Its purpose is to apprise all concerned of the situation, assess risk, and agree future actions. The Scottish Government will be responsible for ensuring Scottish operational partner agencies are able to participate in the teleconference. Officials will use the Resilience Direct emergency contact list to invite relevant attendees. Therefore, please ensure your organisation's details are always up to date (this includes out of hours contacts). Those organisations out with central government who would be invited to participate in the Amber Teleconference would be local authority representatives, Police Scotland, SEPA, NatureScot, Scottish SPCA, FSS, FSA, NHS board, CPH(M) and PHS.

2.2 Actions upon confirmation of disease

2.2.1. General

The Scottish Government's CVO is responsible for confirming disease outbreaks in Scotland. Upon confirmation of any exotic notifiable animal disease in Scotland, the DSG will be established to co-ordinate and manage the Scottish disease control response. The lead agency for co-ordinating the operational response is APHA. Upon confirmation, APHA will establish a Central Disease Control Centre (CDCC) and a GB National Disease Control Centre (NDCC)(see para 3.2: Tactical and Operational response). The Scottish Government's response to exotic disease outbreaks is outlined in its contingency framework plan.

2.2.2. Preventing the spread of disease

Once disease has been confirmed, the primary objective is to prevent the spread of disease and, for zoonotic infections, to protect public health. This is achieved by:

  • taking action on the infected premises (IP). For most diseases, this will involve culling and disposing of all susceptible livestock species, and where appropriate, control of potential wildlife vectors of disease, e.g. rats.
  • imposing wider area-based livestock movement controls (see Appendix B for a summary of controls introduced for some key diseases).
  • placing controls on animal products.
  • investigating the origin of the outbreak and potential spread of disease.
  • enhancing surveillance to identify any further spread of disease.
  • for zoonotic infections, assessing risks to responders and the public, and implementing appropriate control measures, e.g. personal protective equipment (PPE), and pre or post exposure prophylaxis.

For most diseases, a Protection Zone (PZ) with a minimum radius of 3 km will be put in place around the IP; and a wider Surveillance Zone (SZ) with a minimum radius of 10 km from the IP would also be put in place. The PZ will be subject to more stringent movement controls than the SZ. If disease is confirmed on an island, it is possible the whole island may be placed under area-based movement controls.

2.2.3. Summary of notices

A restriction notice is a legal document issued by the relevant authority, usually a veterinary inspector or an inspector appointed under the Animal Health Act 1981. A restriction notice is issued to ensure compliance with relevant disease control legislation, e.g. to restrict the movement of susceptible animals from premises where disease may be suspected. The notices for all exotic notifiable diseases have a consistent numbering system. However, separate forms are needed for each disease, because the specific legislation is referred to on individual notices. These notices can only be amended or withdrawn on the authorisation of the relevant authority. This will be defined in the relevant legislation (this is usually a veterinary inspector, but in some circumstances also an inspector appointed under the Animal Health Act).

A set of template notices have been placed on to a section of APHA's page within Resilience Direct, along with a brief explanation of their intended purpose. To access this you need to have a Resilience Direct account and request to be a member of the user group "Joint APHA and Scottish Government Guest Area" (see 2.1.2). Users must be registered on Resilience Direct with their own organisation before requesting access to the template notices. This resource supports the training of staff within local authorities who have an enforcement role.


Email: Animal.Health@gov.scot

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