Outbreak!

Investigation guidelines for aquatic animal disease events

These guidelines have been developed to use in the event of a disease outbreak in aquatic animals including finfish, molluscs and crustaceans. For the purposes of these guidelines, in the context of an outbreak, the term “disease” is used for any event where there are animals that have clinical signs or are dead, irrespective of cause. The approach to determining what is affecting animals will be similar whether the cause is an infectious pathogen or an environmental issue such as a chemical toxin.

The outbreak investigation process follows 10 basic steps, but these steps do not necessarily need to be completed in sequence.

The information collected will provide the evidence required to conduct an epidemiological investigation. This will aid in understanding if the disease event is an outbreak, what may be causing the disease, what controls to apply and ideally, how to prevent future outbreaks.

Towards the end of the guidelines is information on how to submit good quality samples to have the best chance of getting a diagnosis.

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Page last updated: 02 Nov 2023