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NEW POWERS TO MONITOR ZOONOTIC DISEASES

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A public consultation on new and amended powers to investigate infections which can spread between animals and huma...
A public consultation on new and amended powers to investigate infections which can spread between animals and humans has been launched by Defra.

The Zoonoses (Monitoring) Regulations 2006, implementing an EU Directive on the monitoring of zoonoses and zoonotic agents, would strengthen current monitoring systems designed to identify new and existing strains of zoonoses (diseases which spread from animals and humans) and enable specific surveys to be conducted.

The regulations would grant the power to enter any premises where zoonotic infection is suspected and to take samples to help trace its spread.

The consultation on the draft regulations will run until 27 October. It is expected that they will become law late in 2006.

The aim of the legislation is to recognise England's specific disease control needs and to implement EU law in a way which best fits with domestic law and the resources that Defra has invested in the protection of human health through enhanced monitoring and surveillance.

It especially invites comments on the rationale for government intervention, the application and scope of the regulations, how to implement them, the potential cost to food producers and other businesses and the cost to government.

Full details of the consultation are available at www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/current.htm

NOTES

1. The Zoonoses (Monitoring) Regulations 2006 would be the means by which EU Directive 2003/99/EC on the monitoring of zoonoses and zoonotic agents would be implemented in England. Implementation of the Directive is being considered separately in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

2. A partial Regulatory Impact Assessment has been produced which sets out a number of options for implementing the Zoonoses Directive.

Each option is analysed in detail with the costs and benefits of each option laid out clearly.

3. A zoonosis is any disease and/or infection which is naturally transmissible directly or indirectly between animals and humans.

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