International agencies say global cooperation is needed to curb African Swine Fever
In a joint statement, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Organization for Animal Health said international collaboration will be needed to minimize the impact of African Swine Fever around the world.
“Coordinated actions as part of the Global Initiative should take place alongside maintaining transparency regarding reporting of animal diseases and investing in strong and resilient animal health systems,” the statement said.
Both organizations noted many countries do not have the resources to rapidly detect and contain viral animal disease and said risk communication will be a crucial element in effectively addressing high-risk pathways and practices.
The virus has impacted at least 50 countries in Africa, Europe and Asia. Economic concerns are increasingly serious because the disease could have a 100 percent mortality rate in pigs and pork is the most consumed meat around the globe.
In the U.S. alone, estimates say an ASF outbreak could cost up to $50 billion.
“Today, 51 countries are affected by African Swine Fever,” said Dr Matthew Stone, OIE Deputy Director General for International Standards and Science. “Amid the difficult situation posed by COVID-19, (it) continues to spread, intensifying the current health and socioeconomic crises.”
Researchers at Kansas State University have begun working with a South Korean company to develop a vaccine.