The SAC Epidemic Diseases sub-group on their review of the Foot and Mouth Disease contingency plan (January 2005) made the following recommendationsComments on this
Recommendation 1: It would be useful if the key changes (relative to the Foot and Mouth Disease Contingency Plan that was in place before 2001) were stated, including information on new research instigated and how social science lessons have been analysed and incorporated into the revised plan.
Recommendation 2: The Government should clearly state its policy priorities in terms of control during an outbreak. Priorities in the event of different outbreak scenarios should be considered.Recommendation 3: A strategy document should be produced to set out a framework for decision-making based on the different scenarios and policy priorities.
4: Defra should build UK epidemiological modelling expertise into further refinement of its Contingency Plan. A range of different outbreak scenarios should be modelled and the best approach available for each should be established.
Recommendation 5: Constraints on electronic data capture, transmission and access that could limit use of real-time information for prediction during an outbreak should be addressed.
Recommendation 6: Independent experts should be involved in the development of data capture systems.
Recommendation 7: In peacetime, mechanisms that provide the proposed independent modelling consortium with easy access to the modelling data collected at the centre must be agreed and tested.
Recommendation 8: A review of the experiments and epidemiological data on the efficacy of vaccines should be undertaken as a high priority.
Recommendation 9: Modelling, including systematic sensitivity analysis, should be done to determine how vaccine efficacy, availability, deployment. post vaccination monitoring and other factors will influence a success of a given vaccination strategy in different outbreak scenarios.
Recommendation 10: Discussions to better define a dangerous contact (DC) should continue.
Recommendation 11: The non-outbreak standstill time of cattle and sheep should be reviewed. If there are overriding factors favouring six days then these must be clearly stated.
Recommendation 12: Defra should explore innovative ways to work with farmers to encourage adoption of good biosecurity at national, regional and local levels. Options might involve new selective incentives e.g. a scaling of the levy burden on farmers according to the level of biosecurity adopted.
Recommendation 13: Accurate pen-side tests should be developed for the diagnosis of FMD in cattle and pigs. The Department should develop the capability to identify further research needs, including a review of current technology and the identification of novel technologies.
Recommendation 14: During any future outbreak the Science Directorate should ensure the production of a daily email of scientific briefing, outlining the science and underpinning the various policy options.
Recommendation 15: It is important that the Plan be presented in an accessible format to all including clear explanations of objectives and strategy and risk.
Recommendation 16: Defra should take proactive steps to ensure the engagement of farmers, vets and the public with the Plan. Uncertainties influencing the Plan should be identified and made public.
Recommendation 17: Defra should produce clear explanatory notes for the public on what the policy would be in the event of another outbreak and what it would mean for them in terms of access to rural areas.
Recommendation 18: The sub group should meet again to consider what scenarios should be modelled and how best to take this work forward.
Recommendation 19: Members of the sub group should visit the Institute of Animal Health (Pirbright) to follow up on some of the issues raised.
Recommendation 20: The operations of the SAC during an outbreak, including their interaction with policy colleagues and the modelling consortium require formalising.
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