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APHA revamps online Vet Gateway and shares sheep disease data in new interactive format

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has launched a new sheep disease surveillance ‘dashboard’, making it easier for vets and farmers to access information on diseases in sheep in Great Britain (GB).

At the same time, the animal disease surveillance web pages on APHA’s Vet Gateway have been refreshed with engaging new content and improved navigation.

New sheep disease surveillance dashboard

The interactive dashboard displays diseases diagnosed in sheep across GB in an attractive and interactive format. Diseases of interest can be selected by county, country or across GB by using the interactive map. Filters can also be used to show diagnoses by time period and age group of sheep. Vets and farmers can now quickly and easily access information on the most common diagnoses in an area, or learn where specific diseases have been diagnosed. Once a view has been selected, it can be downloaded as an image to use in a document or presentation.

The data behind the dashboard are derived from diagnoses made by APHA’s Veterinary Investigation Centres (VICs) across England and Wales, from the network of universities and other surveillance partners working with APHA who provide post mortem services under contract, and from Scotland’s Rural College Disease Surveillance Centres in Scotland operated by SAC Consulting Veterinary Services. See map on the scanning surveillance network.

This surveillance network in GB offers diagnostic testing, free advice and support to veterinary surgeons in practice for the diagnosis, control and prevention of diseases in farm animals and wildlife.

APHA’s Veterinary Head of Scanning Surveillance, Richard Irvine said:

“Vets in practice are recognised as key partners in animal health surveillance, acting as the ‘eyes on ears’ on farms across the country on a daily basis.

“The sheep disease surveillance dashboard provides vets with a user-friendly means of accessing sheep disease data and enables them to tailor it to their own requirements and interests. It shows how the diagnostic information captured from scanning surveillance across Great Britain can be shared and contributes to building a national picture of sheep health.

“Veterinary practitioners also play a critical role in detecting potential new or re-emerging health threats by discussing cases of unusual, severe or unresponsive disease with the APHA’s VICs and its surveillance partners.”

APHA strongly encourages vets to try out the new sheep disease surveillance dashboard. Dashboards for other farmed animal species are under development and your feedback will help us to deliver the product that best meets your needs as partners in animal health surveillance.

Refreshed Surveillance and Diagnostics webpages

The surveillance and diagnostics pages on the Vet Gateway have been updated to include new disease and species-specific information and to make them easier to navigate.

The new content and changes include:

  • New, dedicated pages highlighting the work of APHA’s Species Expert Groups and specialist areas such as toxicology and parasitology, as well as useful links to information on findings from the surveillance network
  • Easy-to-navigate information on the diagnostic and post-mortem services network provided by APHA and its partners
  • Advice on how to submit samples to the network for investigation, or seek free expertise and advice from a Veterinary Investigation Officer

The sheep disease surveillance dashboard and surveillance webpages refresh are just two examples of how APHA is making disease surveillance data more accessible to vets and farmers.

APHA welcomes private veterinarians contacting them for free advice, without any obligation to send in a submission – APHA is particularly keen to hear about any unusual, severe or unresponsive disease incidents. Threats to animal and public health can present in many ways, and can include:

  • New disease or pathogen
  • Notifiable disease
  • Exotic disease not seen in GB
  • New strain of an infection already in GB
  • New, rare or unusual antimicrobial resistance pattern
  • New, rare or unusual anthelmintic resistance pattern
  • Disease or infection in animals with a human health concern e.g. zoonoses and toxicities
  • Changes in the clinical presentation, patterns or trends of diseases already in GB

To find your nearest VIC or partner PME site use APHA’s postcode finder or see the national surveillance network page on the Vet Gateway .

If you suspect a notifiable disease, you should contact APHA immediately.

Published: 19 June 2017

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