FAO and Max Planck study species-swapping diseases

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

FAO and the German Max Planck Institute are joining forces to study species-swapping diseases that move back and forth between wild animals and domestic livestock and, in some cases, jump to human victims.

In today's interconnected world, population growth, modern transportation and increased global trade in animals and animal products have vastly accelerated the spread of zoonoses - species jumping diseases – capable of wreaking major impacts on farmers' livelihoods and human health alike. A/H1N1 swine flu and the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza are but two recent examples.

A memorandum of understanding signed today by FAO and the Max-Planck-Institute for Ornithology, based in Radolfzell, Germany, establishes a strategic partnership aimed at combining the organisations' expertise and resources to tackle this problem.

A key goal of the partnership will be to determine which agroecological landscapes represent the greatest risk for disease transmission among human, livestock, and wild animal populations.

Among other things, the agreement also commits FAO and the Institute to helping countries strengthen their national capacity to balance preservation of natural resources and biodiversity with and expansion and intensification of agricultural production to ensure food security.
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