Wildlife can become infected with many important diseases that can affect our domestic animals or people. Wildlife can also carry some of these diseases but not be affected by them. WHA provides technical expertise to AUSVETPLAN (Australia’s emergency animal disease plans) and works with Animal Health Australia on the development of new plans and the review of established plans. WHA members focus on wildlife issues.
We also know that the majority of new and emerging diseases occur in wildlife and spillover can occur into animals and people. These diseases can also affect biodiversity and the environment.
WHA provides technical expertise to the development of Threat Abatement Plans (TAPs) developed by Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy and technical advice during the development and revision of various Series of National Guidelines by the Communicable Disease Network Australia. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide nationally consistent guidance to public health units (PHUs) in responding to a human notifiable disease event. We provide input for human diseases with wildlife as part of their ecology, such as Australian bat lyssavirus, Q fever, avian influenza and psittacosis. There is very real need for on-going training of front-line wildlife workers in the recognition and reporting of these diseases. Working with its partners, WHA staff assist in organising and running training workshops targeting front-line wildlife personnel.
WHA has assisted the Australian government's Zoo Animal Health Reference Group, the Zoo and Aquarium Association and Animal Health Australia in updating the AUSVETPLAN Zoo Enterprise Manual and has developed Guidelines for Management of an Emergency Wildlife Disease Response.
In all its preparedness activities, WHA works with state-based authorities in adopting an all hazards approach. This emphasises the need to develop core competencies and an understanding of incident control and emergency management. This basic understanding of how a response is structured, managed, and roles and responsibilities helps better prepare them to assist the recognised authority with any wildlife emergency should this be required.
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