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8 December 2023

This message relates to the option of further differential diagnostic investigation of cases where notifiable disease has been reported to APHA and subsequently negated either on clinical grounds by the official APHA vet investigating or following official sampling and laboratory testing.

As you will be well aware, if you or your clients suspect notifiable disease it must be reported to APHA. Where notifiable disease is subsequently negated, you are invited to contact the APHA Species Expert Group (SEG) veterinary lead relevant for the species in which notifiable disease suspicion arose ( and discuss with them the option of undertaking appropriate differential laboratory testing. The aim would be to establish a diagnosis or reason for the disease which raised notifiable disease concern, and to assist you and your client and add to our understanding and knowledge of differentials for suspect notifiable disease. The type of testing undertaken will vary with the different circumstances and in different cases.

The official APHA vet dealing with the case may discuss this option with you or your client, but you are welcome to contact the Species Expert Group veterinary lead directly. This may include discussion of separate diagnostic submission(s) of samples for investigation if appropriate. APHA reports on any investigations undertaken will be made directly to you, as normal.

Examples of recently negated notifiable disease report cases in sheep, investigated by APHA, include orf, bacterial cellulitis of the head, haemonchosis and oxyclozanide toxicity.

I would emphasise that the option of differential diagnostic investigation of negated notifiable disease report cases through APHA is voluntary. If you wish to progress an investigation, or discuss an approach to an individual case or negated notifiable disease cases in general, please do not hesitate to contact the Species Expert Group veterinary lead.

Contact details for me, as the veterinary lead for the Small Ruminant Group are given below and if I am away, please send a message to the Surveillance Intelligence Unit mailbox and your message will be passed to the Species Expert Group deputy veterinary lead.


Rudolf Reichel BVSc, MRCVS

Veterinary Lead, Small Ruminant Expert Group | Surveillance Intelligence Unit

Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)

Telephone: 03000 6000 98, Mobile +44 7342 070255 | Email:

Address: VIC Thirsk, West House, Station Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PZ

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