OIE Conference Targets African Swine Fever

GLOBAL - Veterinary controls must be enhanced to control the spread of animal diseases including at border and importation checkpoint controls, it was agreed at a recent conference of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
calendar icon 27 September 2010
clock icon 4 minute read
The spread of African swine fever in the region has shed light on veterinary border or importation checkpoint controls as potential weak links in the regional control of animal diseases, participants in the 24 th Conference of the OIE Regional Commission for Europe (Astana, Kazakhstan; on 20-24 September 2010) recognised.

"The Conference acknowledged that Veterinary Services working under an appropriate national chain of command play a major role at border and importation checkpoint controls; this must be strongly supported by governments as any weakness in this field allows microbes to pass through," Dr Bernard Vallat, OIE Director General said.

Improvements in sharing information, international cooperation and dedicated human resources at border and importation checkpoint controls are necessary throughout the region, Dr Vallat commented: "It is also important to support countries that are the original source of the outbreaks to build up capacity so that they stop to be a reservoir of pathogens for others."

Recommendation was made that Member Countries apply a system for veterinary checks also on non-commercial cargo, travelling pet animals and in particular, on the control and safe disposal of food waste of international means of transport.

Conference participants also requested the OIE reviews its standards covering import, transit and export in order to include rules on veterinary border checks in areas excluded from customs inspections (such as free zones, free ports, free warehouses etc.).

African swine fever affects countries in the Caucasus and the Russian Federation

The Conference assessed that African swine fever, a highly contagious disease of hogs, has spread in the region with confirmed outbreaks in different Caucasian countries. “The prevention mechanisms that could help contain African swine fever, or as a matter of fact any infectious animal disease must be improved in several countries of the region” OIE Director General, Dr Bernard Vallat said.

The assessment made during the Conference points to different factors responsible for the recent spread of the disease. Control strategies need to rely on efficient Veterinary Services that comply with OIE quality standards. They must include contingency plans which:
  • take into account local and regional variations in animal husbandry practices
  • target hygiene rules
  • impose stricter movement controls and,
  • facilitate the financial compensation of animal owners, allowing the humane culling of infected and in-contact animals, which is the most efficient measure accepted to eradicate African swine fever in the absence of a potent vaccine.

The OIE will continuously assist Member Countries strengthen governance of their animal health systems.

The Conference was kindly hosted by the Government of Kazakhstan. Mr Karim Kazhymkanovich Masimov, Hon. Prime Minister of Kazakhstan opened the Conference. It was chaired by Dr Saktash Hasenov, Vice Minister of Agriculture of Kazakhstan with the support of the OIE Headquarters and the OIE Regional Representation for Europe.

Participants in the Conference included higher government officials of OIE Members Countries as well as national, regional and global organisations including the Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on swine fevers by clicking here.
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