Collaboration needed to stop African Swine Fever
It will take international cooperation to curb the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF). The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) say global collaboration is needed to prevent transmission of the pig disease that is now in 51 countries. The plea comes amid an escalation of ASF that has caused massive pig losses. It is not in the United States, but is in sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, Asia and the Pacific.
“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, quoted in a news release.
A joint initiative between the two organizations calls for transparency in reporting animal diseases. Recommendations include improving the capability of countries to prevent, respond to and eradicate the virus by adopting science-based standards and best practices.
There are serious concerns about the economic impact of the disease, since pork is the most consumed meat in the world, representing more than a third of global meat consumption, according to the FAO.
Both organizations highlighted that many countries affected by the virus “lack sufficient human, financial or technical resources to rapidly detect, respond and contain” animal diseases.
“Amid the difficult situation posed by COVID-19, (ASF) continues to spread, intensifying the current health and socioeconomic crises,” said Dr Matthew Stone, OIE Deputy Director General for International Standards and Science.
AFS cannot infect people, but can cause up to 100 per cent mortality in pigs.