Public Health Argument to Retain Current UK National Controls for Tick and Tapeworms Under the Pet Travel Scheme

Authors


  • This work was carried out at the Health Protection Agency, where all of the above authors were employed.

Dilys Morgan, Health Protection Agency, Centre for Infections, 61 Colindale Avenue, London, NW9 5EQ, UK. Tel.: +44 208 3277474; Fax: +44 905 9929; E-mail: dilys.morgan@hpa.org.uk

Summary

At present, the European Council is debating whether the current national controls under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), which aims to prevent the introduction of rabies and tapeworms or live ticks and their associated diseases into the United Kingdom (UK), should be harmonized amongst European Union (EU) Member States. There is a strong case to support the retention of control measures on human health grounds. Although many are aware of the implications of rabies infection, few realize the risk to the UK population if current tick and tapeworm controls under PETS were to be removed. If this were to occur, there is a risk that a number of diseases of human health importance may be introduced and become established in the UK. Such diseases include alveolar echinococcosis, tick borne encephalitis, tularaemia and Mediterranean spotted fever; all of which are found in other EU Member States but do not occur in the UK. These four diseases are responsible for a significant burden of disease in Europe, and current national controls under PETS have been highly effective in so far preventing their introduction into the UK.

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