FAO, OIE kickstart initiative to combat spread of African swine fever

AFRICA – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) are calling on all nations and partners to join forces to keep the deadly Africa Swine Flu (ASF), disease at bay under a new initiative.

The Global Control of ASF Initiative, launched under the GF-TADs umbrella, supports actors at every level to coordinate and strengthen control measures to minimise the impact of this complex and challenging disease.

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Bringing together governments, industry and specialists, FAO and OIE will present the initiative for the first time on a global stage as part of a Call to Action event (26-30 October).

“Our goal is to prevent the spread and ultimately eradicate this disease, leveraging on the latest science, best practices and international standards.”

FAO Director General – Qu Dongyu

The spread of ASF is showing no signs of slowing down. The contagious disease has led to the loss of over seven million pigs in Asia alone, since sweeping into that region.

So far, more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe are currently affected, and the Americas are trying to prevent incursion into their territory.

“Our goal is to prevent the spread and ultimately eradicate this disease, leveraging on the latest science, best practices and international standards,” said FAO director-general Qu Dongyu in a video message.

“If not controlled, this disease will jeopardise progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” he continued, calling on all stakeholders to take action to stop the spread of ASF, promote animal health and welfare and safeguard the livelihoods of farmers.

The disease causes up to 100% fatality in wild and domestic pigs and there is no effective vaccine.

Although not infectious to humans, pig production is critical for many economies, and to the food security and livelihoods of millions of people.

The fatal disease continues to extend its reach, causing further damage in the socioeconomic fallout from COVID-19.

As part of a week-long online event, government representatives, veterinarians, and specialists from around the world will share knowledge and experiences on tools, approaches and state of the art research.

Coordinated actions as part of the initiative will build resilience utilising practical guidance, appropriate to specific needs and contexts.

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