African swine fever (ASF) continues to leave its mark on the global swine industry. A resolution regarding ASF was passed at the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) annual meeting last week in Paris. Within this Global Control of African Swine Fever resolution, Resolution No. 33, is a framework to address this global threat, recognizing the need for collaborative preparedness, prevention, detection and control measures.
Of particular note is the recommendation for OIE to develop specific guidelines for implementation of zoning and compartmentalization, says Paul Sundberg, DVM, executive director of the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC).
“In light of the ASF epidemic, it should be helpful for OIE to review and strengthen the current zoning and compartmentalization guidelines,” Sundberg says. “It’s important that they apply correctly to the ASF situation."
Although zoning and compartmentalization don’t directly affect animal health, it uses the animal health status to define areas of high risk and negligible risk.
“That should give trading partners confidence in the safety of product coming from the defined disease-free areas so international trade can continue even if ASF is found in the country,” he says. “This OIE effort should help to make the lines at the edges of the road brighter so it is easier for one country to assess the disease status in another country and have the confidence that they can continue to trade in a safe manner.”
An ad hoc working group will meet later this year to draft these guidelines. Key points of the resolution follow:
• ASF is a global threat to all pork producers.
• In addition to affecting swine, ASF impacts livelihoods, food security and trade.
• Control is feasible but unlikely to succeed without a coordinated regional and global approach.
• Lack of a vaccine, as well as knowledge gaps, require coordinated research and development.
• The OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code provides harmonized international standards for mitigating zoosanitary risks.
• Implementing OIE standards in relation to ASF risk management can be implemented for risk analysis, zoning, and compartmentalization.
• A mechanism for uniting public and private sector stakeholders for understanding and relationship building is needed for collaboration.
• The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)/OIE Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs) is an effective tool.
• Regional Standing Groups of Experts on ASF (SGEs-ASF), under the umbrella of GF-TADs, will provide for regular exchange of information.
• ASF control be considered a very high priority by member countries regardless of their ASF status.
• ASF requires risk management through national control programs.
• Risk communications are essential to effectively address high-risk practices.
• Maintain transparency and trust with trading partners.
• Implement relevant OIE standards to ensure safe international trade.
• Manage risk of business continuity within preparedness planning related to trade.
• Take all practice steps to prevent disease spread including via illegal practices.
• Improve veterinary services as well as support national surveillance and control programs.
• Launch a global initiative for the control of ASF.
• Account for regional specificities for global control.
• Support establishment of regional SGEs.
• OIE with FAO establishes and maintains an ASF Reference Laboratory network.
• OIE develops specific guidelines for implementation of zoning and compartmentalization.
• OIE and FAO with partners achieve agreement on value of investment for global control to facilitate access for financing needs.
• Support research alliances.
For more on ASF, visit porkbusiness.com/ASF.
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