Many of the diseases we are most concerned about are “notifiable” (that is, there are legal requirements on animal keepers). During an exotic disease outbreak our website will provide the latest situation – Defra takes the lead, with partners, in responding to the disease.
- Information on Schmallenberg virus
- 28 February 2012: Great Britain and Northern Ireland Contingency Plan for Exotic Notifiable Diseases of Animals
- 24 January 2012: Notifiable Avian Disease Control Strategy for Great Britain.
- 20 January 2012: Advice to pregnant women to avoid close contact with animals that are giving birth
- 14 December 2011: The Secretary of State announced the go ahead for controlled culling of badgers as part of the package of measures to tackle bovine TB. The approach will be piloted in two areas in 2012.
Vigilance and good stockmanship for all kept animals, including those kept as pets are vital in the fight against animal disease. Monitoring animals for signs of disease, and following good farming and biosecurity practices are essential ways of reducing the risk of disease and preventing the spread of disease during an outbreak.
Notifiable diseases, which if suspected are to be reported to your local office of the Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), are in an A-Z table linking to information pages about the diseases.
Animal diseases to be notified to your local AHVLA can be “endemic” (those which are already present in the UK, such as Bovine TB), “exotic” (those that are not normally present in the UK, but can be introduced for example via illegal imports or by wild birds), and/or “zoonotic” (those that can pass between animals and humans, such as rabies).
Defra is required under EU law to operate disease control programmes for some diseases (eg Salmonella in poultry), and monitor trends for others, in order to minimise the risk to public health.
Key facts and figures
- There have been over 14 exotic disease outbreaks in the last 10 years including foot and mouth disease, bird flu and bluetongue.
- The costs of disease outbreaks range from £2 million (minor) to over £3 billion (major outbreak).