Groups call for international response to African swine fever

Joint initiative launched on ASF

Two international organizations are calling for global action to stop the spread of African swine fever (ASF).

In a joint news release, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) called on countries to join forces against the disease.

The organizations warn ASF may cause up to 100 per cent mortality in pigs and currently affects 51 countries. The OIE and FAO warn there is currently no effective vaccine for ASF.

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“In this globalized world, where diseases can spread rapidly across borders, timely sharing of latest scientific information, international collaboration and notification of ASF are needed to prevent transboundary spread and minimize impact,” said FAO deputy director general, Maria Helena Semedo.

The FAO pointed to its initiative for the Global Control of ASF, jointly pursued with the OIE. The initiative seeks to, “Improve the capability of countries to control (prevent, respond, eradicate) ASF using OIE International Standards and best practices that are based on the latest science.”

It also calls for the establishment of a global co-operation framework and the facilitation of business continuity.

“Co-ordinated actions as part of the global initiative should take place alongside maintaining transparency regarding reporting of animal diseases and investing in strong and resilient animal health systems,” a press release from the organizations read.

While North America has so far dodged an encounter with ASF, plans to prevent and, if needed, combat an outbreak on Canadian soil are still in place.

Beyond working with the United States and Mexico, Canada has partnered with the provinces and industry groups to come up with an action plan for ASF.

About the author

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D.C. Fraser

D.C. Fraser is Glacier FarmMedia’s Ottawa-based reporter. Growing up mostly in Alberta, Fraser also lived in Saskatchewan for ten years where he covered politics, including a stint teaching at the University of Regina’s School of Journalism. He is an avid fan of the outdoors and a pretty good beer league hockey player. His passion for agriculture and agri-food policy comes naturally: Six consecutive generations of his family have worked in the industry.

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