Early warning of animal disease outbreaks enables national authorities to inform farmers and general population at risk about prevention and control measures for animal and public health threats, as well as to prepare and develop mitigation strategies to minimize the risk of introduction and spread of disease in Denmark.
To assist with a proper and swift implementation of preventive measures contemplated in the Danish contingency plans, the DVFA uses a rapid risk assessment process to estimate the risk of introduction of a disease into the Danish territory. The rapid risk assessment is carried out when there is an outbreak of a listed disease from the notifiable animal diseases listed in List 1, under the "Danish Animal Health Act", with high consequences for Denmark, occurring in the European Union (EU) and/or in countries neighboring the EU. The rapid risk assessment will be published and risk mitigating actions put in place within 3 working days from the time when DVFA received official information of the outbreak.
The qualitative rapid risk assessment for the introduction of disease, in a specific point in time, is based on the available and relevant documentation. It follows the guidelines of the OIE on Import Risk Analysis, in particular the risk assessment steps. The risk analysis process has been well documented as a step‐by‐step process, where hazard identification is the first step and considered separately from the risk assessment. The risk assessment process itself is subdivided into four steps: (1) entry assessment, (2) exposure assessment, (3) consequence assessment and (4) risk estimation. The overall risk estimation is made by integrating the entry, exposure and consequence assessments. Four risk level alerts have been defined:
At the risk level "very low", the "peace time" preventive measures mentioned above are in place. This risk level means that the probability of introduction is so rare that there is no particular risk of introduction of disease into Denmark. Therefore, there is no need for mitigation actions beyond the preventive measures already in place.
The risk level would be raised to "low", if the probability of introduction of a hazard is rare but does occur. This risk level would trigger measures such as increase on the distribution of information about the disease, and how to prevent it by following recommendations for biosecurity, and to remind stakeholders to keep the above-mentioned preventive measures and being vigilant.
The risk level is raised to "medium", if the probability of introduction of a hazard is likely to occur. The immediate preventive steps at this level include tracing imports of animals and animal products from the outbreak area and targeted information to stakeholders about the outbreak area and a recommendation of increased alert. Additionally, this will trigger an increase on the surveillance by the competent authority.
The risk level will be raised to "high", if the probability of an event (outbreak) occurring in the Danish territory is almost certain/expected. Consequently, a full veterinary risk assessment will be conducted with the purpose of targeting the actions and regulation to prevent the introduction of infection by animals, animal products, vehicles or people. National biosecurity preventive measures may include:
Temporary ban on transport of susceptible species in risk areas or nationally.
No mixing of animals from several farms on vehicles.
Cleaning and disinfection checks on all vehicles for animal transport.
Restricted access to farms with susceptible species.
Requirements for laboratory tests before initiation of antibiotic treatment.
Hygiene rules for access to all Danish farms.