Emergency veterinary team created for EU

The European Commission has agreed to set up an emergency team of veterinary experts.

This was done to help speed up the response to animal diseases outbreaks, such as bird flu, in EU and non-EU countries.

"Time is of the essence when it comes to bringing major outbreaks of disease under control," EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said. "This EU emergency team will enable us to respond quickly and effectively to future animal health crises in the EU, and to offer fast support to third countries in need of assistance," he added.

The Commission said that the aim of the of the new team would be to have experts in the fields of veterinary, virology, wildlife, laboratory testing and risk management on stand-by, ready to go in 24 to 36 hours, when a country requests help or support.

The team is expected to be particularly useful in cases such as last year's outbreak of bluetongue in cattle and sheep, where experienced southern EU member states were drafted in to help the northern European countries deal with an outbreak for the first time.

The team will be selected annually by the Commission from lists of experts submitted by individual member states.


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