Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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Veterinary Laboratories Agency publishes Annual Review 2007/08
The Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) succeeded in testing over 12,000 samples for avian flu in just a 15 day period. This and other achievements are detailed in the VLA's Annual Review for 2007/08, published today.
The VLA is an Executive Agency of Defra, providing research and consultancy on livestock diseases and surveillance of new and emerging diseases for the Government and animal health industry.
Other achievements during the year include VLA's emergency response to three disease outbreaks, avian influenza, foot and mouth disease and bluetongue. Over 30,000 samples for avian influenza were tested during the year, with over 12,000 of these in a 15 day period after an outbreak in November 2007 in Suffolk.
During the Bluetongue vector free period from January to March, VLA tested approximately 90,000 samples in the high containment laboratory facilities on site. Peter Borriello, VLA's new Chief Executive, said:
"Having only been appointed as VLA's Chief Executive since 1 October 2008, I cannot claim credit for any of the work covered in the Review.
"However, I am honoured to have joined an organisation with such a rich history and am particularly pleased to report that during the last year, an independent audit of VLA's science acknowledged the Agency as a recognised centre of excellence. "During the year the Agency also continued to deliver evidence and advice to help Government, the industry and animal, as well as public, health. With global trade encroaching infections and emerging zoonoses there has never been a more important time for an Agency such as ours."
The Review also includes special feature articles on FLU-LAB-NET, a web-based global interactive community for avian influenza and a new initiative, the Fellowship Scheme, introduced to develop specific skills within VLA.
A copy of the VLA Annual review can be found at http://www.defra.gov.uk/vla/reports/rep_annrev.htm, or by contacting 01932 357314 or email@example.com
Notes to Editors
1. VLA is an Executive Agency of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). It is a regional network of 16 veterinary laboratories including a central facility near Weybridge in Surrey.
2. VLA provides a wide range of applied research and consultancy on livestock diseases and surveillance of new and emerging diseases for the Government and animal health industry. It is also a national and international reference laboratory for many farm animal diseases including avian influenza, bovine tuberculosis, classical swine fever and TSEs. http://www.vla.gov.uk
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