Simulation exercise: Foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom
Dr Nigel Gibbens, Chief Veterinary Officer, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), United Kingdom, informed the OIE that a field simulation exercise on foot and mouth disease called “Silver Birch”, will take place on 9 and 10 November 2010 in England, Scotland and Wales where national and local disease control centres will be set up.
The overall aim of this exercise, which will be conducted in conjunction with the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) and the Scottish Government (SG), is to review and check the Governments’ contingency plans and policies for the control and eradication of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease with a view to identifying improvements in the plans, instructions, structures and procedures.
The objectives of this simulation exercise are to:
- demonstrate that the Government is taking the threat of exotic animal disease seriously and that it has effective policies and contingency plans in place;
- to exercise the integration and interaction between the strategic and tactical levels within Defra, the Devolved Administration and Animal Health to demonstrate the joined up response to an outbreak of FMD;
- to exercise the multi agency response to an outbreak of FMD in conjunction with our operational partners (including LRFs* and SCGs**), both nationally and locally;
- to exercise Animal Health’s new operational model in reaction to a confirmed case of FMD regionally/divisionally, to demonstrate increased readiness and resilience within the structures;
- increase awareness of Defra’s/ Scottish Government’s/ Welsh Assembly Government’s/ Animal Health’s emergency preparedness work amongst stakeholders.
* LFRs: Local Resilience Forums
** SCGs: Strategic Coordinating Groups
Animal Health Information Department
World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)