Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Ceisteanna (502)

Eugene Murphy


502. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the role the animal health computer system has in monitoring levels of tuberculosis; if the system is updated on an ongoing basis, particularly in bovine herds identified as high risk; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12237/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Animal Health Computer System (AHCS) is a fully integrated online disease management system developed by my Department over many years and is highly regarded internationally by veterinary disease programme managers. It is primarily used for bovine TB management but also has functionality in relation to Brucellosis, BSE, Bluetongue, Avian Influenza, Foot and Mouth Disease, Aujeszky’s Disease and Salmonellosis.

It is integrated with my Department's laboratory information system, spatial system, corporate customer system and the animal traceability system. It contains functionality for regional Department staff as well as staff in bovine slaughterhouses. In addition, it has a user interface for almost every bovine veterinary practitioner in Ireland.

In relation to TB, it is used to list TB tests to vets, accept test results and it allows staff in my Department to interpret TB tests. Veterinary inspectors use it to apply risk to TB breakdowns and to take appropriate follow-up actions in relation to documentation, future testing and the implementation of testing programmes as is deemed epidemiologically appropriate.

It also manages the valuation and permitting of TB reactor animals, the processing of payments to hauliers, vets, valuers and farmers and the forward and backward tracing of disease from infected farms. It has functionality in relation to epidemiological evaluation of herds as well as quality control of the overall TB testing system.

The system is updated daily by Department staff and all herds including those with a high risk status are monitored and managed according to agreed policies. Each regional office has a veterinary inspector on duty dealing with queries as information is fed into the system. This is monitored locally and is also subject to oversight centrally at ERAD Management meetings in relation to operational issues and by the AHCS Management Board in relation to system maintenance and upgrade issues. The AHCS IMT team provides onsite support and maintenance services as well as developing and implementing on-going enhancements.