The FMD Contingency Plan 28 Nov 2017 - has nothing been learned from the 2001 disaster ?

Captain Bryn Wayt made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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Captain Bryn Wayt

Dear Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,

I wish to ask a variety of questions under the auspices of the FoI Act 2000. I know you are busy, and whilst I expect the usual answer talking about 20 days, I am willing to wait longer.

Preamble
http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?M...
Laboratory-based rRT-PCR methods can generate a result within a few hours of receipt of a sample. However, the time taken to transport suspect clinical material to a central laboratory (such as Pirbright) can be lengthy, and this delay can preclude laboratory confirmation. Notably, the implementation of the control strategy adopted by the UK government in the 2001 epizootic: to slaughter the animals on infected premises within 24 hours, meant that in the majority of cases, diagnosis based on clinical signs was not substantiated by laboratory investigation.

Ref: http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?M...
Retrospective analyses have indicated that reliance upon clinical diagnosis alone resulted in over-reporting of FMD, since the presence of FMDV on 23% of farms designated as infected premises could not be corroborated by rRT-PCR, VI or Ag-ELISA.

These factors have given rise to the idea that improvements to the reliability of diagnosis may be achieved by using rapid and sensitive tests that can be used in situ or close to a suspect premises, without transferring the samples to a central laboratory.

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My questions.
Q1. Given that FMD cases during 2001 were 23% "over reported" as being an IP, what scientific pen-side test device/s have been invented by Defra in the 17 years after FMD2001 and how many are ready to use today ?

Q2. What written precautions are available within DEFRA, to ensure no vet mis-identifies the presence of FMDv by assuming "clinical signs" are the Gold Standard, and thus reduce the chances of "over reporting FMD" when it strikes again?
Clinical signs alone are NOT proof an animal is infected by the FMDv - it has to proven in the laboratory, i.e. the Pirbright Reference Laboratory.

Q3. Why is there NO MENTION of "pen-side" testing in the latest FMD Contingency Plan (28 Nov 2017) as clearly these kits are available ?
They were on the shelf in 2001 but HMG refused to use them.

Q4. Over the period 2008 to 2011 and under funding code SE 1124 there was £649,627 spent on this project to, "continue the development and validation of molecular assays suitable for the routine diagnosis of FMD". I quote, "These methods will underpin the future diagnostic activities of the National Reference Laboratory for FMD and will be included into the contingency plan for the response in the UK to FMD.
So I ask strongly: Why is there no mention of, "Vaccination to Live" as a method of control in the new FMD Contingency Plan more than NINE YEARS down the line or 16 years ?

Q5. On Page 39 of the latest FMD Contingency Plan (28 Nov 2017) it mentions a, "Large outbreak" and what actions are required thereafter - what is DEFRA’s definition of a "Large Outbreak" in terms of animal numbers of PROPERLY diagnosed and authenticated presence of the FMDv ?

Q6. On Page 50 para 4 it mentions, "Large scale outbreaks". What is DEFRA’s definition of another type of, "Large scale outbreaks" (note the plural case).

Q7. On Page 58 para 58 there is mention of another description of an outbreak, this time it is called, "an outbreak of significant size". What does that mean exactly ?
How many proven infected animals to make it a "significant size" ?
If the actual numbers of animals involved are not attached to "an outbreak" then further action/s become dominated by numbers.

Q8. On Page 59 para 59 we have the next vague description of an outbreak as, "where an outbreak is small". Any Plan that purports to be 'fit for purpose' should not have so many types of "outbreaks". What is a, "small outbreak" ? What numbers of animals, Laboratory proven with FMDv please ?

Q9. There’s Large/Large-scale/Significant/and small outbreaks. Define precisely what DEFRA means by all these different catch-words please, and where are the dovetails for each outbreak ?

Q10. Why is it now necessary to Clean and Disinfect TWICE after a farm has been, "depopulated" of suspected FMD infected animals ? I'm assuming a "depopulation" without the benefit of science proving they were; e.g. the old "Slaughter on Suspicion" nonsense.

Q11. Why is the owner now required to pay for this second C&D ?
They would not be culpable in law for FMDv entering England any more than the Vet on-site, so this seems to be a pernicious incursion on farmer's savings.

Q12. I have read that a simulated FMD Exercise WILLOW was carried out in December 2016.
I cannot find any post-exercise Report; can you give me a link to this Report please ?

Q13. I see on Page13 that samples can be taken from a farm that is under Condition "WHITE" and without positive verification by the Pirbright Reference Laboratory the vet on-scene can elevate the Condition to RED with no further deliberations, i.e. NO laboratory examinations/tests. What lawful authority exists to Slaughter on Suspicion like this ?

I beg ALL to remember that 23% of ALL cases of 2001 FMD were mis-diagnosed and thus condemned millions of healthy animals to a disproportionate slaughter policy.
I want to remind DEFRA's new employees of these facts about FMD 2001:
10,509 farms slaughtered out of which <13% were LAB tested as positive.
8,000 farms taken out when NO visible signs of FMD present.
3,305 farms taken out by the discredited "Contiguous Premises" rule, laid down by the equally discredited Imperial College cabal.
CUMBRIA, "SOS" figures 41 farms, 37 tested, ZERO positive.
DC's taken out of which "Contiguous" 680, only 58 tested and ZERO positive.
DEVON at the other end of the country; "SOS" 39 farms, 39 tested, ZERO positive.
DC’s 801 farms taken out, tested 28 and ZERO positive.
"Contiguous" 553 taken out, only 8 tested and ZERO positive.

Q13a. What does it take to activate the Lessons Learned from FMD2001 ?

Q14. Suspicion Level 4 is mentioned in this new FMD Contingency Plan (Nov 2017).
Where is there an up to date definition chart of what that means, and of course what does Suspicion Level 1,2,3 mean as well ? There is NO table in this new FMD plan.
Any plan should be Clear, Concise and Correct.

Q15. On page 65 para 61 there is brazen mention of, "pre-emptive depopulation" - has DEFRA learned nothing from 2001 ? Slaughter, is the real word to use is it not ?

The Professor Lord Trees mentioned in the Lords last month the cost of FMD 2001 was £8billion. The Institute of Directors calculated the cost was £10billion and that assumed the UK had suffered 6 months under that vile disease; in fact it went on into 2002 so it lasted double the time, therefore the true cost was clearly nearly double.
£20BILLION is closer to the truth of the matter. That is what the "pre-emptive" culls cost us.

Q16. On page 71 para 61 mention is made of "Pre-vaccination" visits by vets, why are these necessary at all ?
Time is of the essence in these matters, why is it being wasted with such visits ?

Yours faithfully,

Captain Bryn Wayt

Helpline, Defra (MCU), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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References

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Richardson, Jeanette (DEFRA), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Dear Captain Wayt
 
We have received your Freedom of Information Request for information on
the ‘FMD Contingency Plan 28 Nov 2017’.  The document you refer to does
not exist and I wanted to check that you meant the [1]Contingency plan for
exotic notifiable diseases of animals in England before I look into the
request further.
 
Many thanks
 
Jeanette
 
 
Jeanette Richardson | Policy Adviser
Exotic Disease Control Team I Department for Environment, Food and Rural
Affairs
Email: [2][email address]| | Telephone: 0208 0268643
|
 
 
 

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

This email and any attachments is intended for the named recipient only.
If you have received it in error you have no authority to use, disclose,
store or copy any of its contents and you should destroy it and inform the
sender.
Whilst this email and associated attachments will have been checked for
known viruses whilst within Defra systems we can accept no responsibility
once it has left our systems.
Communications on Defra's computer systems may be monitored and/or
recorded to secure the effective operation of the system and for other
lawful purposes.

References

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1. https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
2. mailto:[email address]%7c

Dear Richardson, Jeanette (DEFRA),

I am sorry to have confused you with my reference to the FMD Contingency Plan dated
28th November 2017.

You are correct, the document you refer to:
"...I wanted to check that you meant the [1]Contingency plan for exotic notifiable diseases of animals in England"
- is the one I was gravitating to in my FoI Act 2000 request.

Sorry to be a pain.

Kind wishes,

Captain Bryn Wayt

Richardson, Jeanette (DEFRA), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Thank you for your e-mail.  I am out of the office on the afternoon of
Tuesday 12th December and will return on Wednesday 13th.  Please contact
Andy Smith in my absence: [email address].

 

Thank you

Jen

 

Richardson, Jeanette (DEFRA), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Dear Captain Bryn Wayt

Many thanks for your response, you will receive an acknowledgment of your request shortly from our Information Rights Team.

Kind Regards

Jeanette

Jeanette Richardson | Policy Adviser
Exotic Disease Control Team I Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Email: [email address]| | Telephone: 0208 0268643 |

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Information Requests (DEFRA), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

1 Attachment

Dear Captain Wayt,
 
Please find attached the response to your request for information.
 
Thanks,
Marie Taylor
 
Marie Taylor | EIR/FOIA Casework Officer | Information Rights Team |
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs | Address: Area 4A,
Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR
 
 

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

This email and any attachments is intended for the named recipient only.
If you have received it in error you have no authority to use, disclose,
store or copy any of its contents and you should destroy it and inform the
sender.
Whilst this email and associated attachments will have been checked for
known viruses whilst within Defra systems we can accept no responsibility
once it has left our systems.
Communications on Defra's computer systems may be monitored and/or
recorded to secure the effective operation of the system and for other
lawful purposes.

Captain Bryn Wayt

Dear Information Requests (DEFRA),

I am most grateful for the answers given.

However, I am very disappointed in the root distillation of HMG Contingency Plan equates to a re-run of FMD 2001 - which was a disaster of astronomical proportions.

There is no solid reliance paid to using emergency Vaccination, or giving a reliable impression that is the first line of defense against the spread of FMDv.

May I suggest the policy makers and planners look at this website:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar...
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This extract shows high merit of Vaccination to Live.

After the outbreaks of 2001, the EU Directive on FMD control was revised [9]; one aim being to encourage the use of vaccination with retention of vaccinated animals. Outbreak control still requires the killing and destruction of all FMD susceptible animals on farms where known infected animals are present, with vaccination used as a control measure in uninfected farms. However, some EU member states remain reluctant to implement this policy within their contingency plans, whilst other FMD-free regions are still considering their options for FMD control. When FMD caused large outbreaks following introductions to South Korea and Japan in 2010 and 2011 [10,11], vaccination was delayed. This may be partly attributed to continuing uncertainty amongst policy makers and trade partners about the feasibility and reliability with which the FMD-free status can be recovered after using this strategy for FMD control [12,13]. In this paper, we review gaps in knowledge over FMDV persistence and detection in vaccinated populations and address the approaches that can be taken to improve the use and interpretation of serosurveillance methods along with the possible follow-up actions after positive serological findings. We suggest different options for dealing with limited outbreaks compared to epidemics and that more emphasis should be given to complementary approaches to substantiate the effectiveness of emergency vaccination.
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I hope I never live to see another outbreak in the UK which plays to FMD2001.

Yours sincerely,

Captain Bryn Wayt

Helpline, Defra (MCU), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Dear Captain Bryn Wayt

Thank you for your email received on 06 February 2018 regarding emergency vaccination in a Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak and for drawing our attention to the Science Direct website.

Kind Regards

Ministerial Contact Unit, Defra.

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