AHVLA Considers Disease Surveillance from 2014

ENGLAND & WALES - AHVLA has opened a consultation on the future delivery of scanning surveillance for animal related threats in England and Wales.
calendar icon 24 December 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

Veterinary surveillance involves the collection, collation, analysis, interpretation and timely dissemination of animal health related data. It aims to detect new or re-emerging threats or changes in the occurrence of animal disease.

AHVLA wishes to create a more effective scanning surveillance system to help better identify and understand new and re-emerging animal related threats based on the recommendations of the independent Surveillance Advisory Group.

The views of the veterinary profession, livestock farming industry and others are sought on options that will improve the geographical coverage of the surveillance system across England and Wales and make better use of the vast expertise and knowledge of animal related threats outside of government within the livestock industry, universities and amongst private veterinary surgeons.

The consultation suggests ways to reduce the number of AHVLA surveillance sites and increase the number of cases each site handles to ensure staff maintain the necessary level of expertise on new and re-emerging threats. Collection points will mean more livestock owners have easy access to laboratories.

AHVLA will continue to provide post-mortem examinations for cases where this is seen as the best approach to get a diagnosis. AHVLA will also continue to provide a full diagnostic service to assist private veterinary surgeons diagnose disease for their farmer clients.

The consultation identifies the drivers for change and proposes ways in which the scanning surveillance system could be enhanced. The ideas, options and scenarios presented are not decisions that have already been made and are presented to give a framework for discussion.

The consultation suggests that improved surveillance can be achieved at a lower, and affordable, cost to the taxpayer, primarily through a reduction in AHVLA’s infrastructure and overheads. Any reduction in the number of post-mortem facilities could be offset by the introduction of a carcase collection service, which would make AHVLA’s post-mortem services even more representative of the animal population of England and Wales.

It should be noted that scanning surveillance is in addition to statutory surveillance activities which are required to fulfil international legislation. Notification of the suspicion of a notifiable disease is a legal requirement and is the main component of surveillance for these diseases. AHVLA also deploys veterinary, scientific and technical resource, at public expense, to this surveillance activity.

The consultation ends of 15 February 2013.

For information on how to respond to the consultation, click here.

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