Veterinary surveillance programmes aim to reduce the burden to the public, livestock and wider society posed by animal-related ‘risks’ (referred to as ‘threats’ later in the paper in line with a definition used by the European Food Safety Authority) including the re-emergence of diseases believed absent or eradicated. To achieve this, it is important to have a systematic approach to identifying and dealing with such threats rapidly and effectively. This paper describes the transparent, systematic and auditable process used for identifying, assessing, escalating and prioritising new and re-emerging animal-related threats in the UK. This has been achieved through the establishment of a Veterinary Risk Group in late 2009.
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