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12. Staying free

Prevention is the key to staying free from serious infectious diseases, especially since the number of cases of successful eradication are quite limited compared with examples where diseases have established wherever they have spread.

A thorough “post-mortem”review should be carried out while the events of the emergency disease outbreak are still fresh in peoples’minds. This review should be led by the Responsible Officer and should include key representatives of each organization involved in the contingency plan, as well as private stakeholders directly affected by the disease outbreaks. This review should include:

Another serious risk associated with staying free following a significant disease outbreak is increasing complacency as populations recover naturally or are replaced by other commercial species. This is especially important where vulnerable populations are separated by a buffer/surveillance zone from infected populations. Vigilance is especially critical when infected populations show reduced levels of mortality or evidence of infection. Nature frequently takes care of survival through developing inherited tolerance of infection; however, this often leads to temptation to move apparently healthy stocks between sites, bays or farms, or for open-water holding and remote processing. Therein lies the risk of spread of the disease and a repeat outbreak emergency.

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