April 26, 2010

A consultation, and a survey

DEFRA have launched a consultation on simplifying the livestock movement and animal identification rules. That’s more interesting than it might sound! Our models of disease spread amongst UK livestock depend on data provided by DEFRA on where those livestock are, and when and where they move.

The current movement regulations are overly complex, and exclude some classes of cattle movement that are epidemiologically important – for example, movements to and from common grazing land (where cattle owned by several keepers can meet and potentially transmit disease) are not currently required to be reported to the British Cattle Movement Service. So this consultation has not only the potential to simplify the system somewhat, but also to make more accurate livestock movement data available to epidemiologists. We will be submitting a response, and I’d like to invite any interested parties reading this to consider doing so, too. The deadline is 30 June, 2010.

Researchers studying disease transmission in people also need good data about contacts between individuals. To this end, let me encourage you to go and fill in the Social Contact Survey. It doesn’t take very long, and the more people who do so, the better data we’ll be able to collect. Tell your friends, too ;-)

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