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London, 24 June/GNN/ --

DEPARTMENT FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS News Release (262/05) issued by the Government News Network on 24 June 2005 New quarterly surveillance reports have been launched to monitor disease outbreaks in horses and donkeys.

Defra is working alongside the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) and a network of laboratories and specialist equine vet practices to implement the initiative. It is being coordinated by the Animal Health Trust (AHT).

The reports, part of the UK Veterinary Surveillance Strategy (VSS), give participating organisations the opportunity to provide quarterly information on the numbers of diagnostic tests performed, and discussion of results for specified horse infections and diseases.

The reports also include more in-depth detail of unusual cases and outbreaks, current issues of concern for equine health and welfare, and related research findings.

Chief Veterinary Officer Debby Reynolds said: "Information is the basis for good disease surveillance. It is collected from a variety of sources and used for the early detection of potential problems. The better informed we are, the better we can tackle disease outbreaks if they happen.

"This is an excellent initiative and we are pleased to be working in partnership with the equine industry to improve disease surveillance for the nation's horses and donkeys."


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