Veterinarians join to address African Swine Fever

OIE in May launched a global initiative for the control of ASF

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Government veterinarians from across North, South and Central America have formed a working group to address the threat of African swine fever.

The group will ‘coordinate efforts to prevent the spread of African swine fever in the Americas region,’ the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) said.

The new group was formed recently at a meeting of the OIE and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Panama City.

OIE in May launched a global initiative for the control of ASF, in part by strengthening countries’ prevention and preparation efforts.

Joining like groups in other regions of the world, the formation of a Standing Group of Experts on ASF in the Americas comes as the region is free of the disease, in hopes of preventing the disastrous effects of the deadly pig virus that have been seen in Europe and more recently in Asia, particularly in China.

With projections that as much as half of China’s hog herd will succumb to ASF by the end of the year, pork is already in short supply there, and skyrocketing prices prompted the government to release 10,000 tonnes of pork from its reserves this week.

The 10th Meeting of the GF TADs Steering Committee of the Americas gathered 15 OIE delegates and senior authorities, as well as regional organizations representing North, Central and South America.

Discussions led to the creation of the Americas group. Included in the new group, on an ad hoc basis, will be internationally recognized ASF or swine disease experts with experience working in Europe or Asia, OIE officials said.

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