PANAMA, Panama City. On the occasion of the 10th meeting of the GF-TADS Regional Steering Committee for the Americas, organised by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), high level officials of the national Veterinary Services of the regional countries gathered to discuss about how to better coordinate to prevent the entry of the disease in the region and the decisionto create a Standing Group of Experts on African swine fever (SGE-ASF) for the Americas.
The recent spread of African swine fever(ASF) in Europe, and more recently in Asia, is responsible for huge economic losses within the pig industry, endangering the livelihoods of many smallholders. Given the gravity of the situation, and following the request of its Member Countries at the General Session in May, the OIE launched a global initiative for the control of ASF. The objective is to control the disease, strengthen countries’ prevention and preparation efforts, and minimise the adverse effects on animal health, animal welfare and international trade.
The Americas Region is free of the disease and its free status must be preserved. However, a lack of precautions by professionals, hunters, travellers, farmers, or anyone unaware of its transmission pathways could result in the emergence of ASF.
In addition to the analysis of the regional situation, the discussions led to the creation of a Standing Group of Experts on African swine fever (SGE-ASF) for Americas under the umbrella of GF-TADs, taking the SGE ASF created in the European region in 2014 as a model. Indeed, developing measures specific and adaptable to the region is essential to prevent the entry of the disease thanks to the definition of priority actions oriented to local needs and complementary of the global initiative.