Scottish regional resilience partnerships' framework for exotic notifiable animal diseases contingency plans

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

2. Activation

2.1. Actions on suspicion of disease

2.1.1. Notification

When APHA has been informed about 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 contain the address of the suspect premises, species of animals, possible disease type and any restrictions placed on the premises.

A contact directory is maintained by APHA local offices - see Appendix F . Changes to contact details should be advised immediately by email to A completed version of Appendix F is available on APHA's Resilience Direct site (see para 2.2.3 below) so operational partners will be able to check and update contact details held by APHA.

2.1.2. Premises placed under restriction

The premises where disease is suspected will be placed under restrictions preventing any movement of things 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). The Disease Strategy Group ( DSG) 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. APHA hold the details of lead responders and will review the details regularly to ensure the most up to date contact details.

If suspicion of disease is strong an Amber Teleconference chaired by CVO will be organised. 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. Those organisations outwith central government who would be invited to participate in the Amber Teleconference would be a local authority representatives, Police Scotland, SEPA, SNH, Scottish SPCA, FSS, FSA, NHS board CPH(M) and HPS.

2.2. Actions on confirmation of disease

2.2.1. General

The Scottish Government's Chief Veterinary Officer ( CVO) is responsible for confirming disease outbreaks in Scotland. On 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 agencies for co-ordinating the operational response is APHA. On confirmation APHA will establish a Local Disease Control Centre ( LDCC) usually in Perth and a GB National Disease Control Centre ( NDCC). The Scottish Government's response to exotic disease outbreaks is outlined in its contingency framework plan [6] .

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, eg 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), 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; 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 comply 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 in 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 but usually a veterinary inspector but in some circumstances also an inspector appointed under the Animal Health Act.

A set of template notices for rabies have been placed on to a section of APHA's site 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". This resource will support training of staff within local authorities with an enforcement role. Other diseases covered in the annex of this framework contingency plan will be made available early in 2017. Users must be registered on Resilience Direct with their own organisation before requesting access to the template notices.



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