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Animals: Diseases

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 12 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Department of Health on the interrelationships between animal and human disease; and what diseases have been discussed. (233875)

DEFRA and its agencies are involved in many cross government committees which include representatives from the Department of Health (DH) and its agencies. These committees facilitate discussion on human and animal related diseases of both domestic and international importance. This collaboration enables informed decisions to be made regarding planning and control, horizon scanning for new and emerging diseases and the development and implementation of various cross-government strategies.

Recent collaborations between DEFRA, the DH and their agencies include investigations into the recent outbreak of Avian Influenza in Dorset and Suffolk, co-ordinating West Nile Virus surveillance activities of both humans and wild birds, management of the Salmonella National Control Programme, and developing public health evidence to support current UK tick and tapeworm control measures.

In response to the October Anthrax incident, DEFRA is working closely with the Health Protection Agency, the DH and local authorities to ensure effective containment measures are in place and subsequent investigations carried out. DEFRA is also collaborating with the Health and Safety Executive on the National Bovine TB strategy, and surveillance of Q-Fever in the UK.