The UK Zoonoses Group, which provides a forum for the discussion of animal and human health aspects of zoonoses (diseases and infections transmissable between animals and man) and their control, today met for the first time.

The group replaces the National Zoonoses Group for England (NZG) which was established in April 1999 under the Chairmanship of Professor Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer for England.

Although Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each had observers on the NZG, and each country has its own zoonoses group, the new UK Zoonoses Group is intended to help develop a more cohesive, comprehensive and joint approach to the understanding and control of zoonotic diseases in the UK.

This is in line with the recommendation of the BSE Inquiry for better liaison between central government and the devolved administrations on animal and human health issues that have implications for the whole of the UK.

Information about the Group, and access to minutes and papers, will be available on the Animal Health Group website at

Notes for editors

  1. The remit of the UK Zoonoses Group is to advise Agriculture and Health Ministers on zoonoses issues. Zoonoses are diseases and infections which are transmitted naturally between vertebrate animals and humans. A zoonotic agent may be a bacterium, virus, fungus, parasite, or other communicable agent.

  2. Provisional membership of the UK Zoonoses Group is:

    UK Chief Medical Officers
    UK Chief Veterinary Officers
    Head of Animal Health Group (DEFRA)
    Head of the Protection of Health Division (DH)
    Head of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland (DARDNI)
    Head of the National Assembly of Wales Agricultural Department
    Representative of the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department
    Representative of the Scottish Executive Health Department
    Representative of the National Assembly of Wales Health Department
    Representative of the Department of Health in Northern Ireland
    Representative of the Food Standards Agency
    Representative of Consultants in Communicable Disease Control
    Representative of LACOTS for Environmental Health Officers
    Representative of the Health and Safety Executive
    Director of Veterinary Medicines Directorate
    Director of Veterinary Laboratory Agency
    Director of Public Health Laboratory Service
    Director of Operations, Environment Agency for England and Wales

  3. The UK Zoonoses Group is expected to meet at least twice a year.

  4. Lord Phillip’s BSE Inquiry Report was published on 26 October 2000. The Government’s full Response to the Report was published on 28 September 2001. These documents are available on the DEFRA Website.

Public Enquiries: 08459 335577; E-mail:

Press Notices available via DEFRA website: