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Exotic diseases
Contingency planning: Exercise Walnut provides reassurance, says AHVLA

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EXERCISE WALNUT, a disease simulation exercise undertaken last year to test the UK's preparedness for an outbreak of classical swine fever (CSF), ‘provided a very effective examination of the different administrations’ contingency plans in the event of an outbreak of CSF and provides reassurance that the UK could respond effectively to an outbreak of this disease’.

This is the conclusion drawn by the AHVLA in its evaluation of the exercise, which was published this week. The AHVLA explains that Exercise Walnut was primarily intended to test the contingency plans for exotic notifiable animal diseases and the control strategies for an outbreak of CSF in the four administrations that make up the UK, and how these interact during a medium to large-scale outbreak involving all four administrations. It also aimed to test the operational response of the AHVLA and its partners and engagement with stakeholder groups.

European legislation requires member states to exercise their contingency plans twice within a five-year period, or within the five-year period after an outbreak of a major epizootic disease has been effectively controlled and eradicated. CSF was chosen for Exercise Walnut because there are regular outbreaks of the disease in central and eastern Europe, and it is endemic in …

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