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Emerging animal diseases: from science to policy - Favv

Emerging animal diseases: from science to policy - Favv

Theme 1 Risk assessment

Theme 1 Risk assessment of emerging animal diseases

Current position of the OIE on the approach of emerging animal diseases Caroline Planté OIE Sub-regional Representative, Brussels, Belgium As a result of globalisation and climate change we are cur- rently facing an unprecedented worldwide impact of emerging and re-emerging animal diseases and zoonoses. In the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code, an emerging disease is defined as a new infection resulting from the evolution or change of an existing pathogen or parasite resulting in a change of host range, vector, pathogenicity or strain; or the occurrence of a previously unrecognised infection or disease. A re-emerging disease is considered an already known disease that either shifts its geographical setting or expands its host range, or significantly increases its prevalence. Most of the recent emerging diseases have an animal origin, and almost all of them have zoonotic potential. The interaction between human and animal health is not a new phenomenon. However, the scope, scale, and world-wide impact of zoonoses we are facing today are of particular concern. These diseases must be addressed through coordinated actions between animal and public health authorities. In this respect, the Member Countries of the OIE have clearly indicated their overwhelming support for a greater OIE role in confronting the challenges of such zoonoses. In fact, emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases will become a progressively greater factor in the demands on the activities of Veterinary Services, thus impacting on future partnerships, resources and programmes. The early detection and rapid response to an emerging or re-emerging disease are crucial. It is therefore a key element for all policies to be developed. Actually, the preparedness and response capability of a country towards an emerging disease largely depend on the availability of good veterinary infrastructure, expertise, diagnostic laboratories and in surveillance capabilities as a whole. When the world was hit by the avian influenza crisis, the OIE recommended strengthening veterinary governance worldwide, not just to fight avian influenza, but also to prevent and control any outbreaks of emerging or re-emerging animal diseases, including zoonoses, whether naturally occurring or deliberate. This message was aimed in particular at developing and intransition countries. Indeed, a single country failing to control animal disease outbreaks could put the entire world at risk. Emerging disease agents associated with wildlife are also an important challenge to the biological safety and to decisionmakers who need to give guidance on how best to manage the human/domestic animal/wild animal pathogen interface. 11

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