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EPIC Efforts to Tackle Animal Disease

by 5m Editor
7 October 2011, at 11:36am

SCOTLAND, UK - Improving Scotland's contingency planning for future foot and mouth disease outbreaks will be one of the first tasks for a new animal disease outbreak centre.

Speaking at a Winter Beef Management Event in Fife, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said the EPIC Centre of Expertise on Animal Disease Outbreaks would focus on ensuring Scotland was as well prepared as possible to respond to future disease outbreaks.

The Cabinet Secretary said the EPIC centre - a collaboration of Scottish research institutes and universities led by the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) - was now up and running with an experienced team in place.

Mr Lochhead said: "Bringing together Scotland's world-leading scientists on livestock disease control, the EPIC Centre of Expertise on Animal Disease Outbreaks will provide the Scottish Government with access to the best advice on the epidemiology and control of a range of animal diseases. The initial focus is on improving contingency planning for an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

"EPIC will address a range of issues - including analysis of potential disease control options, and examining how international developments might affect Scotland's livestock disease risks - with the ultimate aim of minimising the impact of any outbreak."

George Gunn, Director of EPIC and SAC's Head of Veterinary Epidemiology, said: "It's a rapidly changing world and we are increasingly confronted by the threat of new diseases reaching our country and fresh outbreaks of diseases which were previously believed under control in Scotland. The EPIC centre is at the frontline of our defences and will assist the Scottish Government and all those involved with the livestock farming industry to minimise the risks as well as react quickly and effectively should outbreaks occur."