Emergency Disease Control And Biosecurity
Animal Disease Emergencies
Animal disease emergencies may occur when there are unexpected outbreaks of epidemic diseases or other animal health-related events which have the potential to cause serious socio-economic consequences for a country.
These emergencies are frequently caused by outbreaks of foreign animal diseases (FADs), which are of significant economic, trade and/or food security importance for many countries. Such diseases can spread easily and reach epidemic proportions; Biosecurity, control/management, including exclusion, requires cooperation among several countries.
The Occurrence Of One Of These Diseases May Have Disastrous Consequences For A Country When They:
- Compromise food security.
- Cause major production losses for livestock products
- Cause losses of valuable livestock of high genetic potential.
- Raise the cost of livestock production since costly disease control measures need to be applied.
- Disrupt or inhibit trade in livestock, germplasm and livestock products, either within a country or internationally.
- Prohibit sustained investment in livestock production.
- Cause zoonoses
- Affect the environment and wild life
The International Office of Epizootics (OIE) recognizes 15 List A diseases, most of which could also be regarded as being FADs. These are foot-and-mouth disease(FMD), rinderpest, peste des petits ruminants (PPR), contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), Rift Valley fever (RVF), lumpy skin disease, vesicular stomatitis, swine vesicular disease, bluetongue, sheep and goat pox, African horsesickness, African swine fever, hog cholera (classical swine fever), fowl plague and Newcastle disease.
However, this list is not exclusive. Other viral, bacterial, rickettsial and mycoplasmal diseases may also be regarded as having the potential to cause animal disease emergencies under some circumstances. Indeed, they may not necessarily be infectious diseases. For example, animal pests such as the New World and Old World screwworm flies.
Benefits Of Emergency Preparedness And Biosecurity Programs
An animal disease emergency such as an outbreak of a foreign animal disease can have serious socio-economic consequences which, in extreme cases, may affect the whole national economy. If a new disease can be recognized quickly while it is still localized and prompt action taken to contain and then progressively eliminate it, the chances of eradication of the disease are enhanced. Conversely, eradication may be extremely difficult, costly and even impossible if the disease is not recognized and appropriate control action taken before it becomes widespread or established in wildlife.
The target should always be to eliminate progressively and finally eradicate a foreign animal disease to provide animal biosecurity (and prove that national or zonal freedom has been regained) if epidemiological and other circumstances are favourable. The alternative approach of simply “living with the disease” through routine vaccination campaigns and/or other disease control measures will in the end prove far more costly and will be a permanent constraint to efficient livestock production systems. Furthermore, the continuing presence of a FAD in a country, even if losses are minimized by effective disease control programmes, will inhibit the opening of export trade opportunities for livestock and livestock products. Eradication of the disease and provision of scientific proof of freedom from the disease to a level of international acceptability will remove this constraint to international trade. Contingency plans for animal disease emergencies should be regarded as providing the key to an early effective action in the face of an emergency.