African Swine Fever (ASF) Media Update
The recent spread of African swine fever (ASF) in Europe, and more recently in Asia, is responsible for huge economic losses within the pig industry, endangering the livelihoods of many smallholders.
Given the gravity of the situation, and following the request of its Member Countries at the General Session in May, the OIE launched a global initiative for the control of ASF. The objective is to control the disease, strengthen countries’ prevention and preparation efforts, and minimize the adverse effects on animal health, animal welfare and international trade.
The Americas Region, of which Guyana belongs, is free of the disease and its free status must be preserved. However, a lack of precautions by professionals, hunters, travellers, farmers, or anyone unaware of its transmission pathways could result in the emergence of ASF.
Preventing its introduction in the region, and, if ever it happens, being prepared to contain its spread and devastating consequences are of the utmost importance.
At the 10th Meeting of the GF TADs Steering Committee of the Americas, 15 OIE Delegates and senior authorities, alongside Regional Organizations, representing North, Central and South America were present.
In addition to the analysis of the regional situation, the discussions led to the creation of a Standing Group of Experts on African swine fever (SGE-ASF) for Americas under the umbrella of GF-TADs, taking the SGE ASF created in the European region in 2014 as a model. Indeed, developing measures specific and adaptable to the region is essential to prevent the entry of the disease thanks to the definition of priority actions oriented to local needs and complementary of the global initiative. Internationally recognized ASF or swine disease experts with experience working in Europe or Asia will be included in the group on an ad hoc basis on agreement of the SGE-ASF. The Group will gain advantage of experts from Europe or Asia experienced in ASF joining the group on an ad hoc basis.
The presence of representatives of the pig industry is to be noted. This is a good example of how Private-Public Partnerships (PPPs) can reinforce the effectiveness of veterinary service activities and support implementation of global programme for the control and the eradication of animal diseases.
Strong collaboration by the regional and international community, as well as good communication, are essential to minimize the effects of ASF.