Keeping farmed animals – collection

Notifiable diseases in animals

A collection of guides to notifiable diseases in animals, including what happens if a disease is suspected or confirmed.

Contents

  1. Documents

‘Notifiable’ diseases are animal diseases that you’re legally obliged to report to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), even if you only suspect that an animal may be affected.

Notifiable diseases can be:

  • endemic – already present in the UK, such as bovine TB
  • exotic – not normally present in the UK, such as foot and mouth disease

Some endemic and exotic diseases are zoonotic which means they can pass between animals and humans, such as rabies.

If you suspect a notifiable disease you must tell your nearest APHA office immediately – failure to do this is an offence.

What happens if you suspect a notifiable disease

If you suspect an exotic notifiable disease:

  1. Report it to your nearest APHA office.
  2. APHA vets will investigate – they usually visit your premises and carry out an enquiry. The APHA duty vet will tell you what restrictions should be applied to your premises before the APHA veterinary inspector arrives.
  3. If the APHA veterinary inspector suspects a notifiable disease, they will take samples for testing (this may involve killing the suspected animal before taking samples).
  4. They put restrictions on your premises. This means you must at least stop moving animals susceptible to the disease on or off the premises. It can also include stopping the movement of anything that can transmit disease, like meat products, equipment or vehicles.
  5. If certain diseases are suspected (particularly foot and mouth disease or African horse sickness) a temporary control zone will be introduced around your premises. This restricts the movements of animals susceptible to the disease.
  6. Restrictions remain in place until the investigation is complete and an exotic notifiable disease is ruled out.

What happens if a notifiable disease is confirmed

If a notifiable disease is confirmed:

  1. Action will be taken on the infected premises to reduce the risk of the disease spreading, including movement restrictions. For some diseases, like foot and mouth disease and African swine fever, this will include culling all susceptible animals. Premises are then cleaned and disinfected with strict rules on restocking.
  2. The government investigates where the disease came from and whether it has spread.
  3. The government puts restrictions on all premises where the disease is likely to have spread from or to (for example when animals have been moved).
  4. Further restrictions in a wider area may be introduced, depending on the risk of the disease spreading. In the case of foot and mouth disease in particular, animal movements would be restricted throughout the country. For some diseases control zones are automatically applied. APHA will tell you what action to take – this depends on the nature of the disease and EU requirements.
  5. The following activities that could spread disease may be banned:
    • hunting or shooting
    • animal gatherings (like shows)
    • exports

Controlling exotic notifiable diseases

Contingency plans outline how the government will manage an exotic notifiable disease outbreak:

How to prevent notifiable diseases

You can help prevent notifiable diseases by following:

Animals or birds spared from culling

For most notifiable diseases, there are legal powers to cull animals to prevent the spread of disease during an outbreak.

Certain animals and birds, including breeds at risk, may be spared from culling if this doesn’t compromise controlling the disease (this isn’t guaranteed).

Find out more about animals and birds that may be spared from culling.

Compensation when animals are slaughtered compulsorily

For some notifiable diseases, you may get compensation if your animals or birds are compulsorily culled.

Get notified about exotic disease outbreaks

You can get the latest news about exotic notifiable disease outbreaks from the APHA subscription service.

Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs)

The following transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are also notifiable diseases:

You can also read existing guidance from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Documents

  1. African horse sickness: how to spot and report the disease

    • 14 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  2. African swine fever: how to spot and report the disease

    • 14 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  3. Anthrax: how to spot and report the disease

    • 14 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  4. Aujeszky’s disease: how to spot and report it

    • 14 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  5. Avian influenza (bird flu)

    • 12 March 2015
    • Detailed guide
  6. Bluetongue: how to spot and report the disease

    • 14 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  7. Bovine TB: how to spot and report the disease

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  8. Brucellosis: how to spot and report the disease

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  9. Classical swine fever: how to spot and report the disease

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  10. Contagious agalactia: how to spot and report the disease

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  11. Contagious bovine pleuro-pneumonia: how to spot and report it

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  12. Contagious epididymitis: how to spot and report the disease

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  13. Contagious equine metritis: how to spot and report the disease

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  14. Dourine: how to spot and report the disease

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  15. Enzootic bovine leukosis: how to spot and report the disease

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  16. Epizootic haemorrhagic disease: how to spot and report it

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  17. Epizootic lymphangitis: how to spot and report the disease

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  18. Equine infectious anaemia (swamp fever): how to spot and report it

    • 17 November 2014
    • Detailed guide
  19. Equine viral arteritis: how to spot and report the disease

    • 26 August 2014
    • Detailed guide
  20. Foot and mouth disease: how to spot and report it

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  21. Glanders and farcy: how to spot and report the diseases

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  22. Goat plague: how to spot and report the disease

    • 26 August 2014
    • Detailed guide
  23. Lumpy skin disease: how to spot and report the disease

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  24. Newcastle disease: how to spot and report it

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  25. Paramyxovirus infection: how to spot and report the disease

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  26. Rabies: how to spot and report the disease in animals

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  27. Rabies in bats: how to spot it and report it

    • 30 April 2015
    • Detailed guide
  28. Rift Valley fever: how to spot and report the disease

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  29. Rinderpest: how to spot and report the disease

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  30. Sheep and goat pox: how to spot and report the diseases

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  31. Sheep scab: how to spot and report the disease

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  32. Swine influenza: how to spot the disease in humans and report it

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  33. Swine vesicular disease: how to spot and report it

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  34. Teschen disease: how to spot and report it

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  35. Vesicular stomatitis: how to spot and report the disease

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  36. Warble fly: how to spot and report the disease

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide
  37. West Nile fever: how to spot and report the disease

    • 1 October 2014
    • Detailed guide