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The European Commission plans to set up an emergency veterinary team to respond rapidly to animal disease outbreaks in the European Union and developing countries.
The team will be made up of animal health experts who are available at short notice to assist with major outbreaks of diseases, such as avian influenza, bluetongue and foot-and-mouth.
Members of the team will be sent to the affected states to provide technical assistance and to work with local authorities to bring the disease situation under control, said the E.C.
The team will also collaborate closely with experts from international organizations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization and International Office of Epizootics, added the commission.
Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said: "Serious animal epidemics in Europe and elsewhere have highlighted the importance of having well-prepared, well-trained personnel available to provide their expertise in dealing with the problem. Time is of the essence when it comes to bringing major outbreaks under control. This EU emergency team will enable us to respond quickly and effectively to future animal health crises in the EU, and to offer fast support to third countries in need of assistance."