The AHVLA, DEFRA, the Scottish and Welsh Governments and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is to carry out a simulation of a national scale outbreak of classical swine fever – called exercise ‘Walnut’.
The Government’s ability to deal with a significant outbreak of classical swine fever (CSF) is to be tested next June in a joint exercise.
The AHVLA, DEFRA, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will carry out a simulation of a national scale outbreak.
Exercise “Walnut” – scheduled to take place on June 12 to 13, 2013 – aims to test existing plans and policies for the control and eradication of the exotic disease. Its symptoms include constipation followed by diarrhoea, coughing, abortions and blotchy discolouration of the skin.
As part of the exercise, a national disease control centre will be established in London, while multiple local disease control centres will be established in locations that are yet to be confirmed.
In addition, a disease strategy group will be set up in Edinburgh, while an emergency coordination centre will be set up in Cardiff and a central epizootic disease control centre will be created in in Belfast.
Gordon Hickman, head of contingency planning and regulatory affairs for AHVLA, said exercise Walnut would help to ensure the Government is prepared to respond to future disease outbreaks.
“Exercises such as this allow us to identify better ways of working, and help ensure our approach to managing a significant disease outbreak is properly coordinated,” he said.
“We must continue to test and improve our disease control measures, and put ourselves in the best possible position to minimise the impact on farmers and their livestock, should the worst occur.”