Future management of CEM cases in Great Britain
At the time of publication of the 2018 Codes of Practice the existing arrangements for dealing with CEM as a notifiable disease under the Infectious Diseases of Horses Order 1987 remain in place. It is anticipated that at some as yet unspecified time after 1st January 2018, investigation and treatment of confirmed CEM cases in Great Britain(GB) will change from the existing arrangements where Defra/APHA take the lead. There will be no change in Northern Ireland. The new arrangements will be undertaken by experienced private equine veterinary surgeons, drawn from a list of approved veterinary surgeons held by the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) and follow disease control procedures overseen by the Animal Health Trust (AHT) and based on the HBLB Codes of Practice. Under this new arrangement laboratory samples will be able to be tested at BEVA approved laboratories (noting that responsibility for quality assured private laboratories has been transferred from HBLB to BEVA, but run under the same principles). However, all suspect positive samples will be examined by the APHA Penrith Laboratory prior to confirmation and with existence of disease continuing to be officially confirmed in the usual way. All approved veterinary surgeon and private laboratory costs for investigation and treatment of CEM cases/outbreaks will be borne by the owner of the horses or the studs involved.
1. Following confirmation by APHA (Penrith) that the CEM organism (CEMO; Taylorella equigenitalis) has been detected by culture or qPCR by a BEVA quality assured (QA) private laboratory, the disease will be confirmed by the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) in the country in GB where the disease has been identified.
2. Defra/APHA will, at the same time, look to establish permission from the owner or agent of the infected horse(s), that the Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Group of the Animal Health Trust (AHT) in Newmarket may be informed that CEM has been identified/confirmed- this is necessary under data sharing requirements.
3. If permission to share this information with the AHT is not granted by the owner or agent, Defra/APHA will assume responsibility for dealing with the case using the powers in The Infectious Diseases of Horses Order 1987 and this may include the imposition of animal movement restrictions on the premises where the case has occurred.
4. If permission to share this information with the AHT is given, AHT will look to appoint an approved veterinary surgeon from the BEVA list to deal with the case, conduct an investigation, carry out any treatment and provide evidence, in due course, that the case has been resolved.
5. Approval of veterinary surgeons will be based on their APHA OV status relating to export certification, (the Official Controls Qualification (Veterinary) OCQ(V) list), current stud experience and working knowledge of the HBLB Codes of Practice in relation to the provisions of this protocol. Any veterinary surgeon seeking to be approved and listed will be asked to apply to BEVA and complete an application form to confirm that they have the necessary expertise. BEVA will make no charge for this service.
6. If the attending veterinary surgeon for the affected premises is an approved veterinary surgeon with current stud experience and working knowledge of the HBLB Codes of Practice they may act in that capacity for their client, but there is also the option for them to decline in the event that they consider that there could be a conflict of interest. In this event AHT will appoint another approved veterinary surgeon to deal with the case.
7. The approved veterinary surgeon will visit the premises to carry out any necessary treatment and further sampling and evaluate any need for animal movement tracings. AHT will require the approved veterinary surgeon to confirm whether they consider that the management of the horse(s) and premises where the infected horse(s) reside are, and have been, compliant with the HBLB Codes of Practice, or not, presenting suitable evidence for their opinion.
8. If the AHT, with advice from the approved veterinary surgeon concludes that the management of the horse(s) and premises where the infected horse(s) reside are and have been compliant with the HBLB Codes of Practice, the approved veterinary surgeon will be asked to manage the investigation and resolution of the outbreak as recommended by the Code of Practice. The approved veterinary surgeon will liaise closely with the AHT and AHT with Defra/APHA on progress and collation of evidence throughout. The appropriate CVO will, when satisfied with suitable evidence for confirmation of freedom from disease, declare the outbreak over.
9. If the AHT, with advice from the approved veterinary surgeon concludes that the management of the horse(s) and premises where the infected horse(s) reside are not and have not been compliant with the HBLB Codes of Practice, they will inform Defra/APHA. Defra/APHA will then consider taking over the control of the case utilising their own veterinary staff together with equine experts from the private sector using the powers in The Infectious Diseases of Horses Order 1987 which may include the imposition of animal movement restrictions.
10. Formal action under The Infectious Diseases of Horses Order 1987, such as the service of animal movement restrictions, will not normally be necessary unless the owner fails to meet the requirements of this Code.