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Exercise Pegasus 2017

Report on an African Horse Sickness Simulation Exercise Conducted in 2017 and Involving Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden

image of Exercise Pegasus 2017

African horse sickness (AHS) is an acute insect-borne viral disease of horses and other equines causing depression, respiratory and circulatory impairment. The mortality rate may approach 100%. The disease is transmitted by midges. In 2007–2009 midges caused the spread of bluetongue in cattle and sheep in Northern Europe. The midges are also the main vector and transmitter of AHS and the disease may occur in horses in the Nordic Baltic region during summer or early autumn. Contingency plans covering AHS have been adopted by the Nordic Baltic countries. This report provides information on the preparatory work and the conduct of a simulation exercise. The aim of the exercise included testing of National AHS contingency plans and of the communication systems established between veterinary authorities in the Nordic and Baltic countries for animal disease emergencies.

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Introduction

The Nordic Council of Ministers – the official body for Nordic intergovernmental cooperation – adopted in 2006 a strategy plan which included cooperation within Nordic-Baltic veterinary contingency planning. The aim of the plan was to maximize the potential of Nordic/Baltic cooperation and work together to prevent and combat serious contagious animal diseases such as foot and mouth disease, avian influenza, classical swine fever, Newcastle disease and any other animal disease, including zoonoses. Within the framework of the strategy plan the Veterinary Administrations have established a Nordic – Baltic Veterinary Contingency Group (N-B VCG), which has focus on a common approach on disease prevention and disease preparedness at farm, regional, national and the Nordic-Baltic level. The activities carried out have included seminars, workshops, simulation exercises and ad-hoc meetings.

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