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Simulation exercise: Foot and mouth disease in Australia

Dr Andy Carroll, Chief Veterinary Officer, Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, informed the OIE that a simulation exercise, called “ Exercise Diva 09 ”, will be run in Victoria from 31 July to 12 November 2009. It will consist in a series of five exercises/workshops which will test Victoria 's capability to deal with a hypothetical outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

The objectives of the exercise include:
- Assessing preparedness of government and industry to implement a livestock standstill
- Trialling the ‘vaccinate to live' operational policy
- Developing and testing a comprehensive communication strategy and
- Fully scoping resource requirements for a FMD outbreak.

To meet these objectives, the Exercise Diva 09 program comprises five exercises/workshops:

1. Livestock standstill exercise (a scenario based discussion exercise) – 31 July 2009
2. FMD vaccination strategy exercise (a scenario based discussion exercise) – 6 August 2009
3. Communications plan workshop – 15 September 2009
4. Resources exercise – 1 October 2009
5. Functional exercise – 9-12 November 2009.

The functional exercise in November will be held over four days and will simulate a hypothetical FMD outbreak in the Goulburn Valley, Victoria. It will involve establishment of a State Disease Control Headquarters at Attwood, near Melbourne, and a Local Disease Control Centre, in the Goulburn Valley. Participants will perform their roles as if it were a real outbreak.

There will also be a series of workshops between August and October, based on the following AUSVETPLAN (Australian Veterinary Emergency Plan) roles:

- Planning (25 - 26 August)
- Veterinary Investigations (10 - 11 September)
- Restricted Area Movement and Security (17 September)
- Administration / Information Management (18 September)
- Directors / Controllers / Operations Managers (13 - 14 October)
- Infected Premises Operations (20 October).

Animal Health Information Department
World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)