Climate change impacts animal diseases

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The impact of climate change on the emergence and re-emergence of animal diseases has been confirmed by a majority of OIE member countries in a worldwide study.

At the 77th OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) General Assembly delegates issued a warning to the International Communitys based on a study conducted by the OIE among all its national delegates.

According to Dr. Bernard Vallat, director general of the OIE, more countries are indicating climate change has been responsible for at least one emerging or re-emerging disease occurring on their territory. This would be a reality that could not be ignored. Consequently, OIE must help veterinary services throughout the world to equip themselves with systems that comply with international standards of good governance so as to deal with this problem.

Conclusions of the study on the "Impact of climate change and environmental changes on emerging and re-emerging animal disease and animal production," presented by Australian expert Dr. Peter Black, call for a new approach to prevent these new dangers.

OIE Members have consequently given the Organisation a mandate to address this issue by using its scientific capabilities and networks, especially at global, regional and sub-regional levels. In particular, they advocate new action at the level of research, national capacity building for public and private sector animal health systems, and communication, with the aim of preventing or reducing the effects of climate change on animal production and diseases, including those transmissible to humans.

A total of 126 OIE member countries and territories participated in the study. Among them, 71% stated they were extremely concerned at the expected impact of climate change on emerging and re-emerging diseases. Fifty-eight percent identified at least one emerging or re-emerging disease on their territory that was believed to be associated with climate change.

Three animal diseases most frequently mentioned by the OIE members who responded were bluetongue, Rift Valley fever and West Nile fever.

Most countries also consider that human influence on the environment has an impact on climate change and consequently on the emergence or re-emergence of animal diseases.
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