Royal Society

 

INFECTIOUS DISEASES IN LIVESTOCK

 

Summary t 19/02

 

Recommendations of the ROYAL SOCIETY

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

The 2001 outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in

Britain highlighted some major policy issues, which are the

subject of numerous inquiries and reports.

 

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

(DEFRA) and the Office of Science and Technology jointly

commissioned the Royal Society to carry out one of these

inquiriesan independent review, from a scientific

standpoint, of how to prevent and combat further

invasions of highly infectious livestock diseases, such as

the 15 included in List A of the International Organisation

of Epizootics (OIE). The review was strategic and wide-ranging,

focusing on the current state of relevant scientific

knowledge and its policy implications. It also highlighted

gaps in that knowledge and the work required to fill them.

The full report was published on 16 July 2002

1

.

 

This document summarises the main points of that report.

 

List A diseases are serious for animal health and for the

economics of the livestock industry. While FMD is not

normally fatal to adult cattle, pigs and sheep, it is

debilitating and causes significant loss of productivity. In

young animals it can be fatal on a large scale. It is one of

the most infectious animal diseases, with huge quantities

of virus particles being released and the disease spreading

rapidly. So it is vital that the UK and its EU partners have a

considered strategy for dealing with outbreaks of FMD

and other List A diseases, and that this strategy be based

on the best available science.

 

The Royal Society report was prepared by a Committee

comprising scientists, veterinarians, farmers and experts in

consumer affairs

 

2

 

The Committee issued a public call for

evidence and received some 400 written submissions from

individuals, the livestock industry and public- and private-sector

organisations. We visited affected areas in Cumbria,

Dumfries and Galloway, and Abergavenny, and held a public

meeting in Carlisle. We also took oral evidence from many of

those most affected by, or closely involved in managing,

the outbreak. We have made the evidence publicly

available on the Societys website [www.royalsoc.ac.uk]

and on a CD-ROM enclosed with the full report.

 

 

Ten key findings

The overall objective of policy must be to minimise the

risk of a disease entering the country and, if it does enter,

to ensure the outbreak is localised and does not develop

into an epidemic.

 

The UK, and the EU, should seek to retain disease-free

status with respect to FMD and the other most serious

infectious diseases. Under present circumstances, this

status should be disease-free without (routine)

vaccination. But this proviso could change if, for

example, the risk of an outbreak occurring increased

sharply, better vaccines became available or the trading

regulations associated with disease-free status were

further changed, so it must be kept under active review.

 

Better contingency planning is vital. The Government

must be empowered to act decisively during an outbreak.

This requires prior debate about the control measures to be

adopted.

The Governments Contingency Plans should

therefore be brought before Parliament for debate and

approval.

The Plans should be subject to a practical

rehearsal each year and should be formally reviewed

triennially to ensure that they take account of: the latest

information about the scale of international disease threat;

changes in farming practice; scientific and technological

developments; regulatory developments at national, EU

and global level; and the countrys state of preparedness.

 

As a result of globalisation, the risk of invasion by exotic

(ie non-endemic) animal diseases has increased. It is

essential that the UK, and the EU, strengthen their early

warning systems and ensure that warnings are acted

upon. This requires an EU risk and surveillance unit; better

funding for the OIE reference laboratories to track disease

spread and identify the strains; heightened animal disease

surveillance on farms; and greater interaction between

farmers and veterinarians to improve the effectiveness of

national surveillance. Import controls over meat products

require tightening.

 

Routine vaccination against some of the most infectious

diseases is possible. While there are no overwhelming

scientific or economic reasons against this approach being

adopted we believe that, at present, the considerable

technical problems and the trade implications argue

against changing current arrangements. Nevertheless it is

clear that the long-term solution is to develop a vaccine

against FMD (and other diseases such as classical swine

fever) that confers lifelong sterile immunity against all

strains of the virus. An international research effort is

required to develop such a vaccine.

 

The precautionary principleif in doubt, err on the

side of cautionshould be adopted more widely to

ensure that any disease outbreak cannot develop into an

epidemic. One of the most effective means of achieving

this is to minimise animal movements at all times. The

Government should consider a system whereby early

warning of infection triggers significantly enhanced

precautionary measures.

 

Rapid culling of infected premises and known dangerous

contacts, combined with movement control and rapid

diagnosis, will remain essential to controlling FMD and

most other highly infectious diseases. In many cases this

will not be sufficient to guarantee that the outbreak does

not develop into an epidemic.

 

Given recent advances in

vaccine science and improved trading regulations,

emergency vaccination should now be considered as

part of the control strategy from the start of any outbreak

of FMD.

 

By this we mean vaccination-to-live, under which

meat and meat products from animals vaccinated and

subsequently found to be uninfected may enter the

normal human food chain (infected animals, of course,

must not enter the food chain).

 

The Government should

prepare the regulatory framework and practical

arrangements (eg validation of tests, and the supply of

vaccines) that would allow this.

 

There must at the outset

be a strategy agreed among the main stakeholders to

allow the country to return to the preferred disease-free

without vaccination status after the outbreak.

 

The first suspected case in an outbreak must be diagnosed

in an approved OIE reference laboratory. Thereafter,

modern diagnostic methods  including pen-side tests

 need to be developed that can shift the burden of

diagnosis to veterinarians on the farm.

 

Rapid diagnosis,

particularly before clinical signs appear, would limit the

size of any epidemic and improve strategic deployment of

resources. Such diagnostic methods must be linked by

modern telecommunications to central headquarters.

 

There is considerable benefit to be gained from

understanding the quantitative aspects of infectious

disease dynamics.

 

Quantitative modelling is one of the

essential tools both for developing strategies in

preparation for an outbreak and for predicting and

evaluating the effectiveness of control policies during an

outbreak. A prerequisite is a central database

incorporating improved data on farms, the location of

animals, animal movements, and the characteristics of

the diseases, together with arrangements to input disease

control data in a timely and assured way during an

outbreak.

 

More work is required to refine the existing

models and to strengthen their capacity to inform policy,

which in turn requires full access by researchers to this

database and to the data on previous outbreaks.

 

A national strategy for animal disease research should

be developed. The overall costs of animal diseases to the

UK over the past 15 years may well have exceeded #15

billion: research is the only rational means available of

improving animal health and diminishing disease. The

strategy should be delivered through a virtual national

centre for animal disease research and surveillance

involving the Institute for Animal Health, the Veterinary

Laboratories Agency and research groups in universities. It

should also involve private research institutes and publicly

funded animal disease research being undertaken in

Northern Ireland and Scotland.

 

 

Synopsis of full report

The modern livestock industry

The total value of UK livestock production in 2000 was

around #7.5 bn, a fall of over a quarter since 1996. Since

1967 the biggest changes have been a 40% fall in the

dairy herd and a nearly 50% increase in beef. The sheep

population has increased by 46% and broiler chickens by

180%, while the laying flock has fallen by about 60%.

 

The average farm size has increased, and there are fewer

individual farm holdings. These changes reflect a change

in the publics eating habits and the improved efficiency

of UK agricultural production.

 

Animal movements around the country are considerable

and it is easy for disease to spreadas last years outbreak

showed. Ways to minimise movement need to be found,

including wider application of standstill quarantine

arrangements and ensuring animals are slaughtered as

close to the farm as possible.

 

The diseases

Domestic livestock have always suffered from a wide

range of diseases. As livestock are concentrated in larger

and larger numbers, the problems of major epidemics

have become more severe. One response was the

formation in 1924 of the OIE. The OIE set up an agreed

international classification of diseases, with 15 in the

most severe List A category and a further 80 in the less

severe List B.

 

The Royal Society report concentrates, inevitably, on FMD,

but also covers briefly a few of the more severe diseases in

the OIE List A affecting each of the main livestock sectors,

including: classical swine fever (CSF) (suffered very badly in

The Netherlands in 1998, and in the UK in 2000); African

swine fever; avian influenza; Newcastle (poultry) disease;

bluetongue; and African horse sickness. Bluetongue,

which particularly affects sheep, is transmitted by midges

and is of special concern because of its northward

progression, perhaps a result of global warming, which if

current trends continue could bring it to the UK.

 

The trading dimension  the importance of

disease-free status

As a member of the EU and the World Trade Organisation

(WTO), the UK is bound by the series of rules and

regulations of those bodies designed both to protect free

trade and to limit the international spread of disease.

 

Central to those rules is the concept of the disease status

of countries. The UK has traditionally aspired to and

maintained the highest level of animal health status,

namely Disease free without (routine) vaccination. This

enables the UK to trade with other nations that have a

similar status. The evidence and advice we have received

confirms our view that the UK should continue to strive

for and maintain that status.

 

Surveillance and early warning

The threat of importing disease is high because of: high

global demand for meat and meat products; extensive

international travel and transport of meat and other foods

around the world; improved transport routes; and climate

change. A more recent risk is that of deliberate release of

pathogensbioterrorism. To forestall and meet the threat of

importing disease, the UK must work with its international

partners, both in Europe and more widely, to strengthen the

present surveillance and early warning systems managed by

the OIE and Food and Agriculture Organisation.

 

At the working level, farmers and veterinarians need to be

more aware of the risks and more familiar with the

symptoms of rarely encountered exotic diseases. Effective

surveillance depends on close collaboration between

farmers and their veterinarians, and between them and

the State Veterinary Service (SVS). The SVS has become

smaller in recent years. Farm animal disease surveillance

needs to be strengthened. A major issue remains the poor

understanding of how highly infectious exotic diseases

are spread locally. This requires resolution through a

targeted research initiative with the clear aim of

improving standards of biosecurity at the farm level.

 

Modelling

Success in preparing for, and then handling, an outbreak

of any infectious disease depends critically on having the

right data  eg on the distribution of farms, their sizes and

their livestock holdings  and using it effectively. Field

epidemiology is essential for the vital detective work of

tracking the spread of infection.

 

Mathematical modelling

of infectious diseases should be used between outbreaks

to model and help prepare for different outbreak

scenarios. Models can also be used when an outbreak

occurs to predict the course of the outbreak and to

estimate the effect of different control strategies, and

thus to provide input to policy makers about the most

effective control strategy for the specific disease and

animal species involved.

 

Diagnosis

Because of the speed at which infectious diseases such as

FMD can spread, the key to controlling an outbreak is to

detect the disease at the earliest possible moment, and

thereafter to diagnose infected animals as rapidly as

possible.

 

There is a high premium on being able to

diagnose a disease even before clinical signs appear.

 

Recent developments offer good prospects for a pen-side

test that could be used by veterinarians in the field.

 

Working devices exist, but still need to be internationally

validated and further developed so that they are

sufficiently cheap and robust for regular use. When

developed they should be linked electronically (eg by

satellite link) to a central database that would hold all the

results in an outbreak.

 

Vaccination

 

Routine vaccination has played a major role in

controlling human and animal infectious diseases. It has

led to the eradication of smallpox worldwide and the

virtual elimination of rinderpest.

 

There are many animal

diseases where routine vaccination is the best control

measure, and most animals in the food chain have been

vaccinated.

 

Routine FMD vaccination has never been used

in the UK, but it was used by many other EU countries

until 1991, when it was argued that the disease had

ceased to be endemic and the risk of outbreaks had

declined to such an extent that it was no longer the most

cost-effective way to prevent outbreaks of the disease.

 

The short length of conferred immunity and the large

number of FMD strains were significant factors.

 

New developments in vaccine research and development

should be applied to produce a vaccine capable of

conferring lifelong sterile immunity against all strains of

the FMD virus. With such a vaccine available it would be

possible to change policies radically and introduce routine

vaccination for all susceptible species.

 

During an outbreak, the short length of immunity conferred

by current vaccines is less of a problem because it would

normally still be longer than the outbreak. Moreover, it

would be clear which specific FMD strain had to be

countered.

 

So emergency vaccination is a technical option.

 

Until recently, the main problem over the use of emergency

vaccination has been the difficulty in distinguishing animals

that have been infected but then recovered from those that

have simply been vaccinated. The possibility of infection

from the former is very low, but it led the OIE/WTO to

impose a 12 month delay before a country that had used

emergency vaccination could regain the status of

disease free without vaccination. This compared with a 3

month delay if culling alone had been used, and the

additional 9 months delay was why emergency vaccination

had always been considered a strategy of last resort. That

was why the animals vaccinated in the 2001 FMD epidemic

in The Netherlands were subsequently destroyed and did

not enter the food chain.

 

Important advances have taken place within the last year 

both technical and in the attitudes of the authorities and

consumers  that should allow emergency vaccination to

develop into a prime control strategy rather than one of

last resort. It is now possible to distinguish vaccinated

from vaccinated-infected animals. At its meeting in May

2002, the OIE therefore agreed to reduce the minimum

period before a country can reapply for full trade status

from 12 to 6 months, only 3 months longer than for

culling-only control measures.

 

The following issues have to be solved before emergency

vaccination can be introduced. With significant effort by

DEFRA, this should be possible by the end of 2003.

 

 The policy should be vaccinate-to-live. This will

necessitate clear acceptance by all concerned that

meat and meat products from vaccinated animals may

enter the food chain normally.

 

 Validation of the marker vaccines to be employed and

the tests to distinguish between vaccinated and

vaccinated-infected animals, and clear rules for

defining the post-surveillance strategy for monitoring

herds and flocks.

 

 Remaining trade implications both within and beyond

the EU.

 

 The precise vaccination strategy to be employed,

including the threshold criteria for its implementation

when an outbreak occurs and the relative focus upon

geographical regions, high risk farms or species to be

vaccinated. Modelling should play a key role here.

 

 Practical issues concerned with storing vaccines,

manufacturing extra vaccine stocks, delivery of

vaccines and the training of vaccination teams.

Hence, we believe that the UK should now be planning to

use emergency vaccination as an important component

of its control strategy for FMD. Culling of infected

premises and known dangerous contacts, and any other

farms on which evidence of disease is subsequently

found, will still be required, but emergency vaccination

could be far more appropriate than the alternative of

extensive culling.

 

Dealing with an outbreak

 

For the foreseeable future there is no alternative, when an

outbreak occurs, to the rapid culling of diseased animals,

and all those that are known, or very likely, to have been

infected by them. Containing an outbreak rests upon

speed of response. In the case of FMD, we envisage the

response as involving these first steps.

 

 On suspicion of disease, impose local movement bans

and send the index case to an OIE-reference

laboratory for diagnosis.

 

 If confirmed, impose a national ban upon all livestock

movements, standstill arrangements on all susceptible

animals bought and sold (if not already in existence),

and a 72 hour ban on any movements on and off

farms within the restricted infected area by all vehicles

and people except in extreme emergency.

 

 Instigate enhanced biosecurity at all levels, offering

advice and support to achieve this.

 

 Deploy the national structures for handling potential

disaster situations, including inter-Departmental

coordination and provision of scientific advice and the

specific command structures for FMD.

 

 Cull infected premises within 24 hours and all

identified dangerous contacts within 48 hours.

If all these actions are taken rapidly enough, and

environmental and farming conditions are favourable,

then an outbreak may be contained. This is the historic

and, in 2001, the initial approach within the UK.

 

However, for some outbreaks additional measures are

needed to stop the disease spreading and to eradicate the

virus. In Britain this situation has developed five times over

the last 80 years and in all cases the epidemics have

proved extremely serious.

 

Until far more is known about

the mechanisms of local spread of the virus only two

options exist for the additional measures: more

extensive culling and emergency vaccination.

 

Under a culling-only strategy the aim is to get ahead of the

disease by creating a firebreak that will stop the virus

spreading and allow the disease to die out. Inevitably this

involves culling a larger geographical area than the

dangerous contacts alone, and/or targeted culling of

farms that are particularly at risk. During the 2001 UK

outbreak this was achieved by culling contiguous

premises, but in other outbreaks culling has focused on

large dairy farms or pig units.

 

If there is a likelihood of

significant airborne spread of virus plumes, as occurred in

1967, extensive culling downwind may become necessary.

In all these cases large numbers of animals rapidly become

involved in the culling policy and major problems develop

over logistics. In parallel, difficulties arise because of

animals becoming trapped within restricted infected

areas: there were major welfare culls associated with the

1997/98 CSF outbreak in The Netherlands and the 2001

FMD outbreak in the UK.

 

 

Emergency vaccination offers an attractive alternative to

extensive culling. But, as discussed earlier, its

implementation requires a number of issues to be resolved,

not all of which are scientific or technical in nature. Once in

place, however, we envisage emergency vaccination being

employed at an early stage in an FMD outbreak so as to

ensure it does not develop into an epidemic. The

Government, in collaboration with its EU partners, should

put in hand the work necessary to address the related

issues identified above.

 

A strategy for dealing with an outbreak must include

arrangements for returning to normal once the outbreak

is over.

 

Under a culling-only policy this involves extensive

post-disease monitoring of herds and flocks for

antibodies against the disease. When emergency

vaccination is used, diagnostic tests must distinguish

animals in herds and flocks that have been vaccinated

from those that have also become infected.

 

At this stage

in the use of emergency vaccination we envisage that any

flocks or herds found to contain animals that have been

infected would be culled.

 

Some applied research is still

needed on the diagnostic tests, but the evidence indicates

that they are adequate for the intended purpose. The

aim, of course, is to return the country as soon as possible

to the status of disease-free without vaccination and full

international trading.

 

Research

 

Worldwide, there is about one-tenth as much research on

animal diseases as on human diseases.

 

In the UK its

funding from Government has declined, particularly

through reductions in applied research commissioned by

DEFRA.

 

The quality of individual UK groups in general

remains world class, and many of the OIE Reference

Laboratories are in the UK. But the research is fragmented,

and therefore not as effective as it could be.

 

To bring

greater coherence to the delivery of animal health R&D, a

new National Centre for Animal Disease Research and

Surveillance should be established  a virtual centre,

organisationally coherent but physically dispersed.

 

We support the Curry Commissions call for a new priorities

board for research into farming and food matters, and we

recommend that DEFRA develop a national strategy for

research in animal disease, to give leadership, direction and

coherence to the several agencies involved. This should

cover both endemic and exotic infectious diseases.

 

An extra #250M is needed over the next ten years for

recurrent expenditure to strengthen research groups and

to provide expensive large containment animal research

facilities. We recommend establishing university-based

Research Units in specific areas complementary to those

within the Institutes. These Units should be supported

long-term (eg 10 years) and be subject to proper levels of

funding and strict peer review.

 

Education, training and continuous professional

Development

 

The Government should work with the professional bodies to

improve the education and training of farmers in infectious

diseases of livestock and to investigate the subject and skill

development priorities in the training of veterinarians.

Up-to-date training of veterinarians and farmers, and their

continuous professional development, are important

elements in disease awareness, prevention and control. We

welcome DEFRAs planned review of the effectiveness of

training of farmers and land managers, and encourage

action to improve their continuous professional

development. In its work on veterinary education and

training, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons should

reflect on the experiences of the recent veterinary graduates

pitched into dealing with the 2001 FMD outbreak.

 

Main recommendations

 

Our recommendations are addressed primarily to the UK

Government.

 

Control of exotic diseases is a devolved

matter in Northern Ireland and Scotland and is subject to

current discussions with the Welsh Assembly, and many

of our recommendations should be read as applying both

to DEFRA and to the equivalent ministries in Scotland and

Wales. Our terms of reference cover Great Britain only but

we hope that this report will be read by the Department

for Agriculture and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland.

 

The

regulatory framework for disease control in animals is

largely determined internationally  by the EU and, at the

global level, by the OIE as part of the WTO framework.

Some of our recommendations should therefore be

considered also by these bodies.

 

Overview

 

The UK Government should bring before Parliament for

debate a framework for the Contingency Plans covering

the principles involved in handling outbreaks of infectious

exotic diseases and the resources required for their

implementation.

 

The Prime Minister should establish a formal procedure to

review at three-yearly intervals:

 

 the level of threat from imported diseases of livestock;

 

 changes in livestock farming practices that could

affect vulnerability to disease;

 

 scientific and therapeutic advances that could affect

policy options;

 

 the UKs, and Europes, state of preparedness.

The UK should continue to strive for disease-free status

against highly infectious diseases such as those listed in

the OIEs List A.

 

Providing the level of international threat does not

increase; there are improved import controls; and there is

a demonstrable improvement in the arrangements for

handling disease outbreaks, the UK should not adopt a

policy of routine vaccination, and should retain the

internationally recognised status of disease-free without

vaccination.

 

Diseases of livestock

 

DEFRA should:

 

 undertake a systematic analysis of the information

available on the relative threats to the UK from the range

of diseases covered here (and other significant disease

such as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and

tuberculosis), taking account of the impact of

globalisation and climate change, in order to set

priorities for the national strategy for animal disease and

surveillance;

 

 undertake a comprehensive review of the available

information on FMD, and develop a consistent and

coherent database of the basic information that

would be required during an outbreak;

 

 carry out urgent research into local transmission of

FMD that will improve biosecurity in the field.

 

Surveillance, biosecurity and livestock management

 

DEFRA should:

 

 propose an EU-wide risk assessment unit and

centralised database on surveillance and disease data,

and a review of the bodies that provide early warning

of animal disease threats;

 

 promote the speedy implementation of their Action

Plan on illegal importing and of a much more

coordinated approach at all levels by all bodies

concerned with import control;

 

 investigate all the issues connected with reducing

animal movements and come forward with

practicable solutions that strike the optimal balance

between the legitimate interests of livestock owners,

market systems and long-term disease control;

 

 ensure that all keepers of livestock (including that not

kept for food production) are properly registered and

submit to DEFRA each year the name of their

nominated private veterinary surgeon and a health

plan approved by the same veterinary surgeon;

 

 establish an Applied Research Unit on Livestock

Management Practices that will undertake or

commission research leading to: (i) the design of

effective biosecurity measures against infectious

animal diseases; and (ii) the design of livestock

management structures and practices that improve

animal health in terms of infectious diseases.

 

Epidemiology, data and modeling

 

DEFRA should:

 establish a review to determine the data required for

informing policy both before and during epidemics of

infectious diseases. This review should involve all those

likely to be involved with disease control, including

modelling teams, and cover:

 

 information to be collected on a routine basis, and

how this can be kept up to date;

 

 information to be collected during the outbreak;

 

 incorporation of the data into a central database;

 use of modern techniques for real-time data capture

and verification;

 

 commission research to improve the methodology

used to identify dangerous contacts;

 

 undertake a major research programme into the

potential of mathematical modelling for

understanding the quantitative aspects of animal

disease dynamics. Mathematical models can be used

both in preparing for outbreaks (including evaluating

alternative strategies) and during the course of

controlling an epidemic;

 

 ensure that the data from the 2001 epidemic are

checked and then made widely available, while

ensuring that any data protection issues are resolved.

 

Diagnosis

DEFRA should:

 ensure that sufficiently specific and sensitive pen-side

antigen detection ELISAs are developed for FMD and

other major diseases, are validated as quickly as

possible, and are available on a large scale for use in

the field, and that a similar ELISA is developed

especially for detecting antibodies in sheep;

 

 explore the potential for portable RT-PCR machines for

use in the field or at regional laboratories;

 

 develop advanced telecommunications between the

field and central control;

 

 consider the benefits of bringing responsibility for all

List A diseases under a single organisation.

 

Vaccination

 

The Government should take the lead in developing an

international research programme aimed at an improved

vaccine that would permit routine and global vaccination

of livestock against FMD and other List A diseases.

 

Emergency vaccination should be seen as a major tool of

first resort, along with culling of infected premises and

known dangerous contacts, for controlling FMD

outbreaks.

This policy should be vaccinate-to-live, which

necessitates acceptance that meat and meat products

from vaccinated animals enter the food chain normally.

 

In determining the arrangements for deploying

emergency vaccination, DEFRA should:

 

 take account of the urgent need to achieve validation

for field use of the tests that discriminate infected

from vaccinated animals;

 

 develop emergency vaccination strategies that

integrate theoretical and empirical epidemiology and

the logistics of delivery of vaccine cover;

 

 establish a strategy for returning to normal after an

outbreak that takes account of the need for ongoing

surveillance, safeguards for those involved and

agreement that products from vaccinated animals can

enter the normal human food chain.

 

DEFRA should explore with the EU and OIE what

improvements to vaccines and surveillance tests are

required to allow disease-free status to be based entirely

on surveillance results without the requirement for a

minimum waiting period.

 

Dealing with an outbreak

The main objective in dealing with an outbreak must be to

ensure that it does not develop into an epidemic. This

requires the following basic measures:

 

 on suspicion of an outbreak, immediate imposition of

strict local movement restrictions and biosecurity

measures including culling the animal with clinical signs;

 

 on confirmation by an OIE Reference Laboratory of

an outbreak:

 

 mobilization of the full emergency arrangements

including all additional logistic resources and the

interdepartmental coordination and scientific

advisory structure;

 

 imposition of a total country-wide ban on animal

movement with unambiguous and widely publicised

advice on the fate of any animals in transit;

 

 rapid culling of all infected premises;

 

 identification and rapid culling of all premises where

there is a high risk of the disease.

 

Where these measures are insufficient to guarantee that

the outbreak will be contained, we recommend in

addition the early deployment of emergency vaccination.

As a matter of urgency, DEFRA should draw up

arrangements for a process for the prior registration for

vaccination of zoos and rare breed collections.

 

DEFRA should review its arrangements for other diseases,

and in particular the developments required to enable

emergency vaccination to be used for CSF and bluetongue.

 

The detailed strategies for controlling outbreaks of

livestock diseases should be included in the published

contingency plan, which should consist of an umbrella plan

for matters that are common to all diseases, with specific

modules for each disease. These plans should be rehearsed

in an annual fire drill that must be realistic and involve

DEFRA and all other relevant bodies including MoD.

 

Research and development, education and training

 

The Government should:

 

 undertake a thorough overhaul of research into

animal disease, and in particular develop a national

strategy for research in animal disease and

surveillance;

 

 draw together the current research funding in

infectious diseases of animals (both endemic and

exotic) within England into a single joint arrangement,

the funds being made available to implement the

national strategy;

 

 create a virtual national centre for Animal Disease

Research and Surveillance, the Board of which would

be responsible for delivering the national strategy;

 

 increase investment in animal disease research and

development by the order of #250 million over the

next 10 years.

DEFRA should take rapid action to investigate and

improve:

 

 the continuous professional development of farmers

and stock keepers;

 

 postgraduate training in livestock health and welfare;

 

 the attractiveness of careers within the State

Veterinary Service;

 

 the training of temporary and local veterinary

inspectors by DEFRA, with the RCVS, the BVA and its

species divisions, investigating the feasibility of the

BCVA proposals.

 

Sir Brian Follett, FRS, Chair

Mr Peter Allen, Farmer and member of the Council of the

National Farmers Union

Professor Patrick Bateson, SecRS, Provost of Kings College

Cambridge and Biological Secretary and Vice-President of

the Royal Society

Mr David Black, Practising veterinarian in Cumbria

Professor Fred Brown, FRS, US Department of Agriculture,

Plumb Island Animal Disease Centre; formerly Deputy

Director, Animal Virus Research Institute, Pirbright

Mr Roger Eddy, Senior Vice-President of the Royal College of

Veterinary Surgeons, and practising veterinarian

Ms Suzi Leather, Deputy Chair, Food Standards Agency

Professor Simon Levin, Department of Ecology and

Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University

Professor Karl Linklater, Principal, Scottish Agricultural

College

Ms Jeanette Longfield, Coordinator of Sustain, The Alliance

for Better Food and Farming

Professor Ian McConnell, Director of Research, Department of

Clinical Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge

Dr Angela McLean, Department of Zoology, University of

Oxford

Professor Andrew McMichael, FRS, Director, Weatherall

Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford

Dr Jenny Mumford, Director of Science, Animal Health Trust,

Newmarket

Professor Robin Weiss, FRS, Windeyer Institute of Medical

Science, University College London

Dr Jorgen Westergaard, Former Principal Administrator, Animal

Health and Welfare Unit, European Commission

Secretariat

Dr Malcolm Anderson

Ms Melissa Barrell

Dr Peter Collins

Dr Geoffrey Findlay

Ms Saskia Gretton

Mr John Horton

Dr Keith Root

Printed by Latimer Trend Ltd, Plymouth, UK

Front cover picture: A confocal microscope image of foot-and-mouth

disease virus infected cells, showing the disruption that the

virus causes to the cellular actin filaments. Virus proteins are

labelled in red, and actin in green. The nuclei are labelled in blue.

Image ) BBSRC, Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright Laboratory.

ISBN 0 85403 580 X

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For further information: Science Advice Section, The Royal Society, 69 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG

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Membership of the Royal Society Committee on Infectious diseases in livestock