Deadly disease outbreak simulation to take place in the UK

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A UK-WIDE virtual exercise will simulate an outbreak of disease this week to test government contingency plans.

The test will be to see how well the UK government could contain and eliminate African swine fever (ASF) should it reach the country.

Mainly found in Asia and Africa, ASF affects pigs and wild boar and has resulted in the deaths of millions of pigs.

pig in mud - scottish news
Photo by Pascal Debrunner on Unsplash. While not harming humans, ASF has had a serious impact on the meat trade.

ASF is no risk to human health but animals can get it from other animals as well as eating infected meats.

The UK’s four Chief Veterinary Officers said: “The risk of African swine fever arriving in the UK is ever present and would have a devastating impact on our pigs and pig keepers if it ever reached our shores.

“We regularly test our contingency plans in this way to ensure that we are ready to respond to potential future disease outbreaks.

caution site - scottish news
Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash. The Animal and Plant Health Agency, Defra, Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland (DAERA-NI) will all work together for the exercise.

The exercise named ‘Exercise Holly’, will see many organisations testing the government’s plans to respond to a national outbreak of ASF and assessing the UK’s state of readiness to manage such an outbreak.

This exercise runs from 22-23 July and will help improve the UK’s animal disease response capabilities through testing plans, instructions and the structures employed in managing an outbreak.

The Government continually monitors disease outbreaks around the world to assess whether there may be risks for the UK and takes action to limit the risk of the disease reaching our shores.