Dr Mark Schipp, Chief Veterinary Officer, Department of Agriculture, Canberra, Australia, informed the OIE that a planned programme of simulation exercises on Foot and Mouth disease will be run across Australia throughout 2014.
This exercise codenamed “Exercise Odysseus” is a series of discussion exercises and field-based activities that will take place throughout 2014, to strengthen Australia’s preparedness to implement a national livestock standstill as part of the response to significant emergency animal disease events.
Exercise Odysseus will focus on the first week of a hypothetical foot and mouth disease outbreak, when decisions about and the implementation of a national livestock standstill are most likely and decisions will be made about extending a standstill beyond the initial 72 hours. The exercise programme will explore actions taken by government agencies and industry organisations when implementing a national livestock standstill.
The exercise scenario, which will be consistent across the exercise programme, is based on a hypothetical outbreak of foot and mouth disease, initially detected in Queensland, Australia.
The objectives of Exercise Odysseus are to:
- Assess national, jurisdictional and industry arrangements for implementing and managing a livestock standstill;
- Assess national, jurisdictional and industry decision-making processes in declaring and implementing a national livestock standstill;
- Assess mechanisms for communicating a national livestock standstill and their effectiveness;
- Assess coordination within and between government and non-government agencies and industry prior to and during a national livestock standstill.
More than 40 exercises will be conducted at an organisational, jurisdictional and national level. The first national level exercise will be conducted on 12 February 2014 in Canberra. It is aimed at identifying communication messages, channels and responsibilities around implementing a national livestock standstill.
For more information about Exercise Odysseus contact the National Exercise and Evaluation Program in the Department of Agriculture by emailing [email protected].
Animal Health Information Department
World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)