FAO and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) are joining forces to combat foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) on a global scale, laying out a detailed strategy today to bring the devastating livestock disease under control.
"One main objective of the Global Strategy is to allow FMD control worldwide through the strengthening of veterinary services responsible for animal disease control," explained Bernard Vallat, OIE Director General."Positive effects of the strategy will extend far beyond the control of FMD because it represents an opportunity to initiate long-term actions which will enhance veterinary services' capacity to fight other high-impact diseases of livestock. At the regional level the South-East Asia and China FMD campaign (SEACFMD) programme managed by OIE/Bangkok is considered as a very efficient model," he added.
The Global Strategy combines two tools developed by FAO and the OIE. The OIE tool, called the Performance of Veterinary Services Pathway (PVS), evaluates national veterinary services with the aim of bringing them into compliance with OIE quality standards. Reliable veterinary services ensure the quality and safety of livestock production. In turn, strong veterinary systems protect the safety of food sources, trade and animal health, and as such, are a global public good. FAO developed the Progressive Control Pathway for Foot-and-Mouth Disease, the PCP-FMD, which guides countries through a series of incremental steps to better manage FMD risks, beginning with active surveillance to establish what types of FMD virus strains are circulating in the country and neighbouring areas.
The process moves countries continuously towards improved levels of FMD control and thus an eventual opening to trade and international markets. A key pillar of the PCP-FMD involves coordinating efforts with countries in the same region in order to control the disease systematically across porous national boundaries.
The aim of the FMD Global Strategy is to decrease the impact of FMD worldwide by reducing the number of disease outbreaks in infected countries until they ultimately attain FMD-free status, as well as by maintaining the official FMD-free status of countries that are already free.
The global annual cost of FMD in terms of production losses and the need for prevention by vaccination has been estimated to be approximately $5 billion.In a severe event in 2001 in the United Kingdom, the direct and indirect impacts are estimated to have cost as much as $30 billion. Earlier outbreaks had similar tolls: in the Chinese province of Taiwan in 1997, a major epidemic cost the economy $15 billion, while Italy in 1993 suffered economic damages of $130 million.
Wednesday 27 June 2012/ FAO.