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Emergency prevention system for transboundary animal and plant pests and diseases: The livestock diseases component

M.M. Rweyemamu, P.L. Roeder, A. Benkirane, K. Wojciechowski and Akiko Kamata

The authors form the Infectious Diseases Group of the Animal Health Service, Animal Production and Health Division, FAO, Rome, Italy.

Why the rinderpest focus for empres?
Current global rinderpest status
The OIE pathway and grep guidelines for global rinderpest eradication
Global rinderpest campaigns
Global rinderpest diagnosis and surveillance
Improving vaccine quality
Global emergency preparedness against rinderpest and other epizootics

Fifty years ago, FAO held its inaugural conference in Quebec, Canada, and, within a year, a meeting on animal health was convened in London, the United Kingdom, to consider how the activities of veterinary organizations all over the world could be properly coordinated under the FAO umbrella, with particular attention being paid to mitigating the widespread ravages of animal plagues, especially rinderpest. The following year, the subcommittee on animal health of the FAO Standing Advisory Committee on Agriculture recommended that FAO should assist in the distribution and establishment of novel rinderpest vaccines. Thus, the coordination of international efforts to control major epizootic diseases became part of FAO's basic mandate, which has been pursued over the past 50 years with varying levels of emphasis.

In February 1994, Dr Jacques Diouf, the incoming Director-General of FAO, pledged to remodel the Organization to take a leading role in global food security, especially in low-income food-deficit countries. It was therefore not surprising when he identified resolute action against major transboundary epizootic diseases and migratory plant pests as complementary components of a priority programme. Consequently, the Director-General sought and obtained the mandate of the 106th FAO Council, in June 1994, to establish a priority programme - the Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases - to be known by the acronym EMPRES.

The livestock diseases component of EMPRES aims at strengthening FAO's role in the prevention of, and immediate response to, emergencies caused by major epizootic diseases of transboundary importance. The primary thrust of this component is against rinderpest and the focus is the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme (GREP). Both the Director-General and the FAO Council intend that EMPRES shall cover those transboundary diseases and pests that constrain food security, adversely affect public health or impede international trade in livestock and animal products. Transboundary animal diseases are defined as epizootic diseases that are highly contagious or transmissible with the potential for very serious and rapid spread, irrespective of national borders.

Through EMPRES, the FAO Council has presented the Organization with a major challenge. FAO is expected to provide technical leadership and coordination for GREP as well as for an international effort in the prevention, prediction and containment/control of emergencies caused by a defined list of major epizootic diseases, such as rinderpest, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), Rift Valley Fever and lumpy skin disease. The challenge is that these are daunting tasks of almost unprecedented magnitude. No animal disease has ever been eradicated from the world in a manner akin to the global eradication of smallpox, and there is no precedent for effecting international coordination of emergency disease prevention. The opportunity is that both tasks represent a major vote of confidence in the technical capability and unique disposition of FAO to lead the world in this vital area, bearing in mind the impact of the identified diseases on world food security and on international trade in animals and animal products.

The Director-General has given clear guidance that the strategy for EMPRES should be within the overall context of its prime elements: early warning, early reaction and enabling research.

The goals, objectives and strategy set by the Director-General have been fully endorsed by the FAO Council. Accordingly, during its review of the initiation of the implementation of the Director-General's Special Programmes (Food Security and EMPRES), the 107th FAO Council, in November 1994, remarked:

"In respect of... EMPRES, the Council noted the ongoing activities to strengthen FAO support to global rinderpest eradication and expressed its appreciation of the emergency assistance provided to several countries in Africa linked to risks of serious epidemics of rinderpest and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia. In this connection, it underscored the intention to also address other important animal diseases, such as foot-, and-mouth disease...."

Why the rinderpest focus for empres?

As Gordon Scott and Provost (1992) remarked, rinderpest belongs to a select group of notorious infectious diseases that have changed the course of history. It is the most dreaded bovine plague known. Rinderpest is a highly contagious and lethal viral disease of cloven-hoofed animals, both domesticated and wild. Cattle and buffaloes are particularly affected, but wildlife, such as the African buffalo, antelopes, wild pigs and giraffes, are also affected severely when the disease is introduced by cattle. Typically, rinderpest causes fever, eye and nose discharges and necrosis of the lining of the digestive tract, giving rise to severe bloody diarrhoea and dehydration, followed by death or protracted convalescence. It is acknowledged to be the world's most damaging virus infection affecting farm livestock, causing reduced meat and milk production as well as reduced crop production through loss of draught power. In the past, cattle plague - as epidemic rinderpest was called - destroyed whole populations of cattle, resulting in widespread famines and profound economic and political damage. Organized veterinary education and state veterinary services were established in Europe primarily to deal with eradication of cattle plague during the eighteenth century, when repeated invasions came from the East. In later years, rinderpest provided the stimulus for the establishment of state veterinary services in other continents. Indeed, as already remarked, one of the main reasons for the establishment of FAO itself was the need for international coordination in the fight against rinderpest.

Experience has shown that regional coordination of campaigns is the single realistic approach to rinderpest control; isolated national actions have only led to sporadic and unsustained improvements. Stringent control of livestock movements, slaughter of affected herds and strict quarantine of the infected zones are the principal elements of rinderpest eradication. The discovery of effective vaccines in the 1940s, and, more recently, the introduction of cell culture vaccine in the 1960s, facilitated the organization of large-scale rinderpest control campaigns, such as the All-India National Campaign and the Joint Project 15 programme in Africa, with remarkable reductions in the incidence of rinderpest. Unfortunately, such dramatic results were not always associated with the total elimination of rinderpest from the affected region. Consequently, several years later, epidemics of rinderpest reappeared in India, Africa and the Near East as a result of the introduction of animals infected by residual endemic foci into a susceptible population. This new rinderpest pandemic in the early 1980s, once again, killed millions of bovines (cattle and buffaloes) as well as wildlife, and thousands of farmers and herders lost most or all of their herds. Nigeria alone lost an estimated one million cattle, plus wildlife. In Iraq, at least 18 000 buffaloes and cattle died. Estimates by FAO suggested that the direct losses resulting from the 1980-1984 rinderpest epizootic in Africa alone were US$400 million to $500 million and indirect losses reached US$1 billion. The recent introduction of rinderpest into the Northern Areas of Pakistan resulted in a major epizootic, killing more than 20 000 buffaloes, cattle and yaks in 1994.

Rinderpest epizootics regularly invade the highlands of Ethiopia causing major losses to livestock and crop production. Here, a dying calf, too weak to stand, is carried from the owner's hut - Des épizooties de peste bovine frappent régulièrement les hautes terres d'Ethiopie, causant d'importants dégâts parmi le bétail et dans les cultures. Ici, un veau mourant, trop faible pour se tenir sur ses pattes, est traîné hors de la hutte de son propriétaire - Las tierras altas de Etiopía se ven invadidas con regularidad por epizootias de peste bovina que ocasiona importantes pérdidas en la producción pecuaria y agrícola. En la foto están sacando un ternero moribundo, demasiado débil para mantenerse en pie, de la cabaña del propietario

Cattle with acute contagious bovine pleuropneumonia have difficulty breathing and often stand with head and neck extended while breathing rapidly - Le bétail atteint de péripneumonie bovine contagieuse a des difficultés à respirer et a tendance à haleter en tendant le cou - Los vacunos con perineumonía contagiosa bovine aguda tienen dificultades pare respirar y con frecuencia están de pie con la cabeza y el cuello estirados, con una respiración jadeante

Recognizing the continuing impact of rinderpest on food security and the shortcomings of periodic rinderpest control campaigns, the FAO Expert Consultation on the Strategy for Global Rinderpest Eradication, held in October 1992, concluded that total eradication of rinderpest infection from the world was economically justified and technically feasible. Global eradication was considered to be the only viable option available to overcome cyclic rinderpest emergencies that cause heavy economic and social losses, thereby necessitating international intervention to finance expensive campaigns. FAO was urged to collaborate with other interested organizations, including the International Office of Epizootics (OIE), in order to promote and coordinate a time-bound programme aimed at eradicating rinderpest from the world by the year 2010, to be known as the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme (GREP).

Current global rinderpest status

The eighteenth century saw rinderpest extend its range from central Asia into Europe, where the cattle plague caused widespread economic and political damage. During the present century, Europe has been essentially free of the disease except for minor rapidly controlled outbreaks in Belgium, in 1920, and in Georgia, in 1990/91. Only one incursion into the Americas is known (in Brazil in 1920) and the continent remains free of rinderpest today, as does Oceania. The extreme east of Asia has been free of the disease for some time. Despite successful control in the more developed world, however, extensive areas of the globe remain affected. Four main interlinked theatres are recognized (Figure 1). The understanding presented here is a synthesis of information derived from many sources and includes epidemiological insights generated from missions undertaken by EMPRES and related projects.

Africa. After the disease's introduction into northeastern Africa at the end of the nineteenth century, a rinderpest pandemic devastated both domesticated and wild ruminant populations throughout the entire continent. Following the initial virgin pandemic, the disease persisted on the continent, giving rise to repeated cycles of mass destruction such as that evident in the 1970s and 1980s following the rinderpest control campaign Joint Project 15. Although this campaign almost achieved continental eradication, two small endemic foci remained in West Africa, at the border between Mali and Mauritania and in Ethiopia. The resumption of the disease resulting from these foci brought about the need for yet another campaign. The present ongoing internationally coordinated control programme - the Pan-African Rinderpest Campaign (PARC) - although again successful in freeing large areas of the continent, has not yet achieved eradication. Currently, the disease is recognized only in eastern Africa, persisting in discrete endemic foci where it may not be manifested dramatically. These endemic foci, associated with the large cattle herds on which pastoralist communities are dependent and reaching across international boundaries, have been defined in the northeast of Ethiopia, arriving at the Eritrean border, and in the south of the Sudan, extending into contiguous areas of Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya.

In addition, an endemic focus has long been suspected to be present in southeastern Ethiopia, and recent evidence suggests that it might even extend into northeastern Kenya and the extreme south of Somalia. From these foci of persistence, epidemics spread periodically into neighbouring areas, primarily through trade in cattle, as occurred in late 1994, for example, when outbreaks of rinderpest resulted in the highlands of northern Ethiopia because of trade in draught oxen from the endemically infected area of the adjacent lowlands.

The Arabian Peninsula. Rinderpest was present in Yemen for many years despite annual vaccination campaigns. It was assumed that infection there was introduced repeatedly by trade in livestock from Africa. However, recent molecular analysis of an isolate of rinderpest virus from that country seems to indicate the persistence of infection with a virus related to the Asiatic rinderpest complex. Elsewhere in the Persian Gulf States of the Arabian Peninsula, sporadic outbreaks appear to result from repeated introduction of infection via cattle traded from South Asia.

Western Asia. Historically, a pattern of waves of rinderpest infection resulting from cattle movements from the East could be detected in countries of the Near East region, but, in recent years, the disease has become established and has persisted in northeastern Iraq, northwestern Iran and southeastern Turkey. Recent emergency assistance by FAO, enhancing national control programmes, has reduced the incidence and might even have eliminated this focus. Until recently, rinderpest persisted in the centre and south of Iraq, but now the disease appears to be limited to the marshes on the channel of Shatt-al-Arab. Spread ostensibly from the northern focus to the very borders of Europe, rinderpest has occurred in Turkey twice in the last five years, but the Caucasus region appears to have remained free of the disease.

South Asia. Once widespread in India, intensive and recent sustained control has restricted rinderpest to the extreme south in the state of Tamil Nadu. Sri Lanka was free from the disease for 47 years, until it was reintroduced in 1987, and it is now persisting in the northeast of the island. In 1993, Pakistan officially acknowledged the presence of rinderpest for the first time in 20 years; samples from the Landhi Dairy Colony near Karachi in Sindh Province submitted to the FAO World Reference Laboratory for Rinderpest (WRL-RP) confirmed the existence of the disease. In early 1994, rinderpest spread to Punjab Province, and later to the Northern Areas. Pathological specimens examined at WRL-RP for identification and genetic analysis validated the close relationship of the rinderpest viruses present in all three areas of Pakistan, confirming the suspected pattern of spread. By the end of 1994, the disease situation in the Northern Areas had deteriorated to a point where mortality of cattle, yaks and buffaloes exceeded 20 000; although still present, it is being brought under control with FAO assistance. Rinderpest has not been recognized in recent years in the rest of Asia with the exception of the Tuva Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and Mongolia, where a single epidemic was documented in 1991/92. This raises suspicions concerning the rinderpest status of the central and southern Asian republics.

1 Rinderpest global status in 1995 - La peste bovine en 1995 - Situación de la peste bovine en 1995

Lumpy skin disease can severely affect some breeds of cattle. This Sanga cow shows severe skin lesions and marked conjunctivitis - La dermatose nodulaire peut avoir des conséquences graves pour certaines races de bétail. Cette vache Sanga présente de graves lésions cutanées et souffre de conjonctivite aiguë - La dermatosis nodular contagiosa produce efectos muy graves en algunas razas de vacunos. Esta vaca Sanga muestra lesiones cutáneas graves y una conjuntivitis acentuada

Peste des petite ruminants, a rinderpest-related epizootic disease of sheep and goats, is a major threat to small ruminant production. This goat clearly shows the characteristic caseous necrotic material covering eroded epithelium in the mouth - La peste des petite ruminants, maladie épizootique des ovins et des caprins apparentée à la peste bovine, constitue une grave menace pour les éleveurs de petite ruminants. Cette chèvre présente manifestement un signe caractéristique de la maladie avec cette matière nécrotique caséeuse recouvrant l'épithélium rongé de la bouche - La peste de los pequeños rumiantes, enfermedad epizoótica de los ovinos y los caprinos relacionada con la peste bovina, constituye una amenaza importante pare la población de pequeños rumiantes. En esta cabra se observe con claridad el material necrótico caseoso característico que cubre el epitelio erosionado de la boca

The OIE pathway and grep guidelines for global rinderpest eradication

OIE has adopted a three-stage pathway that a country must to follow before it can be recognized as being free from rinderpest. Thus, eradication programmes can begin with mass vaccination campaigns within epidemiologically defined zones during which time the veterinary services are also strengthened to prepare them for surveillance activities. Following completion of the campaigns, the country may declare itself "provisionally free from disease", stopping all vaccination activity and replacing it with extremely vigilant surveillance. When a provisionally free country reports no clinical disease for at least three years after stopping vaccination, then, following external verification, it will be declared "free from disease". A further two years after this, if recommended procedures have failed to detect any antibodies in unvaccinated livestock, and again following external verification, the country will be declared "Free from infection with rinderpest virus". In this way, this so-called OIE pathway provides operational targets for GREP.

Based on this pathway, FAO has issued implementation guidelines for regional rinderpest campaigns. Generally referred to as GREP Guidelines, these can be summarized as follows:

· coordinated mass vaccination campaigns to eliminate persistent endemicity;

· the use of high-quality vaccines, independently tested for efficacy and safety;

· proper management of a national veterinary service capable of organizing an intensive and sustained surveillance programme;

· development of a time-bound programme conforming to the relevant OIE guidelines for declaration of freedom from disease and from infection;

· provision of a national laboratory service capable of providing or developing rapid and effective differential diagnosis results;

· articulation of an effective strategy to prevent the reintroduction of the etiological agent;

· development of effective national/regional emergency plans, including a prerehearsed action programme in case of an outbreak that should include provision for a stamping-out policy.

National veterinary authorities should also hold adequate legal powers, including:

· compulsory notification of any suspected cases by the owner and/or relevant local authorities;

· authority to collect samples for laboratory investigation;

· powers of seizure, compulsory enforceable quarantines of infected premises - preferably involving the slaughter and destruction of infected animals - and ring vaccination;

· payment of compensation;

· sanitation measures and other appropriate procedures on infected premises;

· powers to stop vehicles and herds in order to inspect animals;

· powers to designate protection and surveillance zones for the purpose of implementing further intensive control measures;

· powers to implement emergency vaccination campaigns.

Rinderpest eradication campaigns

The Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme (GREP) consists of interlinked, geographically focused campaigns, each comprising national projects and a coordination unit. The Pan-African Rinderpest Campaign (PARC) is fully functional and operates in 35 African countries with funding from the European Union (KU) and is coordinated by the Organization of African Unity/Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (OAU/IBAR). Additional support will be provided in the near future through EU-funded, FAO-executed communications and epidemiology projects and the PAN-African Vaccine Centre. A similar structure has been proposed for the South Asian Rinderpest Eradication Campaign (SAREC), covering India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan, but with the coordination being provided by a joint FAO/EU project. Until recently, an FAO/United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project was responsible for coordinating the West Asian Rinderpest Eradication Campaign (WAREC), and a successor project (or projects) is currently being formulated by FAO to cover the area from Afghanistan to Turkey, including the Arabian Peninsula. In areas where there is no formal coordinated campaign at present, the EU is funding national projects under SAREC and FAO is providing assistance through national and regional Technical Cooperation Programmes (TCPs). Through the Emergency Prevention System (EMPRES) for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases, FAO is providing expertise to draw up regional and national projects, ensuring common approaches, criteria and standards, commissioning specialized research, such as molecular epidemiology (through the World Reference Laboratory for Rinderpest), and providing leadership for global epidemiological analysis. The FAO GREP Secretariat within EMPRES collaborates with other international organizations such as the KU, the International Office of Epizootics (OIE) and OAU/IBAR to provide the required scientific leadership for GREP and the linkage between the activities of the regional rinderpest eradication campaigns. An international technical committee will be convened annually to provide a forum for reviewing, assessing and guiding technical progress towards global rinderpest eradication.

Global rinderpest campaigns

GREP is being pursued through individual country projects operating under the umbrella of regional coordination units. The regions of the world that are involved in GREP are shown in Figure 2. At present, the European Union (EU)-funded Pan-African Rinderpest Campaign (PARC), coordinated by the Organization of African Unity/Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (OAU/IBAR), is fully functional. In South Asia, Bhutan has declared a status of "Provisional freedom from rinderpest" according to the OIE pathway and the Indian National Rinderpest Campaign has scored remarkable success, from having started with a status of rinderpest endemicity in almost all 23 states of the union to the present, where active rinderpest now seems to be confined to only one state and with the northern states advancing towards cessation of vaccinations. The need for regional coordination has now become urgent. Consequently, a proposal for a South Asia Rinderpest Eradication Campaign (SAREC) has been drawn up jointly by FAO, the EU and the countries of the region to commence operating by the end of 1995. A strategy to address western Asia is under preparation through EMPRES. It is expected that this will take into account the current rinderpest epidemiological situation in the region as well as follow up on the previous project that had coordinated rinderpest control in parts of the region.

Within the regional rinderpest campaigns, FAO intends to execute, where appropriate, those elements that relate to either analysis or monitoring, namely epidemiology including sero-monitoring (through the Joint FAD/IAEA Division of Nuclear and Related Techniques in Food and Agriculture), vaccine quality control, communication and project coordination. Funding has now been approved by the EU for such projects in support of PARC through OAU/IBAR. It is intended that the proposed SAREC and other regional projects will have similar components, supplementing FAO-executed coordination projects. Until 1993, these FAO activities were funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), trust funds and FAO's own Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) in Africa and western Asia.

A fundamental principle of GREP, promoted through all regional programmes, is the timely withdrawal of mass vaccination campaigns followed by entry on to the OIE-defined pathway. EMPRES supports the goal of eradication by undertaking continuous epidemiological surveillance and by providing immediate assistance with expertise and control requirements. FAO is uniquely placed to do this because of the EMPRES mechanism for rapid response and its ability to follow this up with TCP assistance.

Global rinderpest diagnosis and surveillance

An initial priority for EMPRES was to identify a laboratory capable of acting as the FAO World Reference Laboratory for Rinderpest (WRL-RP), bearing in mind the requirement for a strong presence in molecular biology. Of the several candidate institutes, the Institute of Animal Health, Pirbright Laboratory, United Kingdom, was selected in recognition of its world leadership in rinderpest biotechnology, especially molecular epidemiology, and because it is uniquely placed to receive and process infectious material containing the major epidemic disease agents. The Pirbright Laboratory has undertaken to receive samples from all FAO member countries and analyse rinderpest virus strains using conventional and state-of-the-art molecular techniques, thus complementing field epidemiological/surveillance activities. Through EMPRES, action is being taken to develop a network of strategically sited regional reference laboratories throughout the GREP region with WRL-RP as the central reference source providing expertise, reagents and support. This has the twin aims of enhancing the global rinderpest surveillance capability in developing countries and of disseminating the biotechnology essential for molecular epidemiology.

The FAO WRL-RP uses amplification of viral nucleic acid by the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR) followed by hybridization with cDNA probes to provide a highly specific assay that can be used directly on field samples to detect viral nucleic acid with a sensitivity much higher than conventional techniques. Positive results have been obtained where conventional tests failed to disclose the presence of rinderpest virus. Nucleotide sequencing of the F gene of rinderpest virus in amplified products then provides a "fingerprint" of the virus that defines the relatedness of viral strains and, hence, their origins. Global monitoring of rinderpest virus strains through molecular analysis is already proving to be a valuable epidemiological tool to assist in clarifying patterns of disease occurrence and the origins of outbreaks, providing information essential for the elaboration of sound eradication strategies. This approach has proved its worth in confirming the diagnosis of rinderpest in livestock in Pakistan and in Cape buffaloes in the Tsavo National Park of Kenya. It is also providing invaluable assistance in clarifying the relationships between rinderpest outbreaks and endemic foci in East Africa and Asia (Figure 3).

Surveillance under EMPRES is being developed as a multifaceted endeavour primarily to assist countries under GREP but also as part of a global early warning system. All regional rinderpest campaigns are being advised to incorporate a strong element of surveillance, ranging from clinical antibody monitoring using serological surveys, epidemiological disease information systems and molecular analysis of virus strains. The contribution of the Joint FAD/IAEA Division needs to be acknowledged as having resulted in the most extensive sero-monitoring network for any infectious disease, human or animal. Furthermore, it is now planned to extend the surveillance and early warning system to include the application of modern biotechnology, satellite imagery, the geographical information system (GIS), disease intelligence and computer-based decision support systems.

2 Participating regions in the global rinderpest eradication programme - Régions participant au Programme mondial d'éradication de la peste bovine - Regiones participantes en el programa mundial de erradicación de la peste bovina

Rinderpest virus phylogenetic relationships - Relations phylogéniques du virus de la peste bovine - Relaciones filogenéticas del virus de la peste bovina

Improving vaccine quality

A major recommendation of the FAO expert consultations on rinderpest has been the standardization of the vaccine for use in control campaigns. The FAO Expert Consultation on Rinderpest Diagnosis and Vaccine Production and Quality Control (FAO, 1985) recommended, as a first step for rinderpest campaigns, the use of cell culture vaccine from the RBOK strain developed in the early 1960s by British scientist Dr Plowright at the then East African Veterinary Research Organization, Muguga, Kenya. Further developments in rinderpest vaccine technology seem to indicate that, while the conventional "Plowright vaccine" will continue to be the standard vaccine, the thermostable variant should be preferred for areas that are difficult to access.

Ensuring the quality of vaccines used in national campaigns has been a major FAO contribution to such campaigns. This system has been most extensively elaborated in Africa through the Pan African Veterinary Vaccine Centre (PANVAC). Between 1988 and 1993, PANVAC tested a total of 694 rinderpest vaccine batches for use in PARC. The system of independent quality control is also being extended to campaigns in western and South Asia.

Additional inputs by EMPRES are being applied both to production technology and to the technology as well as the concepts of vaccine quality. In this regard, EMPRES has been promoting controlled trials of novel candidate vaccines from biotechnological developments such as the vaccinia-recombinant and the capripox-recombinant vaccines. It also hopes to encourage the use of modern biotechnology in the quality assessment of vaccines.

Global emergency preparedness against rinderpest and other epizootics

The EMPRES programme emphasizes the need for efforts to pre-empt disease emergencies through enhanced early warning, early reaction and exploitation of appropriate research. Contingency planning is an important part of emergency preparedness. To this end, a series of workshops on contingency planning and emergency preparedness are currently being held in key regions so as to raise the capacity of countries to cope rapidly with epizootic disease incursions. These deal primarily with the veterinary service structures and preparations needed in case of invasion of countries or regions by major epizootic diseases and with contingency planning for the introduction of major epizootic diseases, using rinderpest, FMD and CBPP as examples to illustrate the concepts. Because of the importance of rinderpest, the workshops in countries under GREP aim to assist those countries that are in a position to cease mass vaccination and progress towards declarations of freedom from rinderpest.

Development of multimedia computer-based communication technology for the production of training manuals and an interactive communication network for the global rinderpest database and global rinderpest surveillance is being undertaken in collaboration with a specialized company together with WRL-RP.

The principles of early warning and early reaction are also being applied progressively to the other five major epizootic diseases addressed under EMPRES as causes of disease emergencies. The recent extension of CBPP to previously unaffected areas of eastern and southern Africa has been of particular concern. FAO's response, thanks to the synergistic facility of EMPRES and TCP, has been rapid and well appreciated by the countries in the region. This CBPP epidemic has been of major concern not only to FAO and the countries concerned, but also to OAU/IBAR, OIE and the EU. Consequently, a regional workshop on the subject, sponsored jointly by EMPRES, OAU/IBAR and the KU, was convened in Arusha, the United Republic of Tanzania, in July 1995.


FAO. 1985. Report of the Expert Consultation on Rinderpest Diagnosis, Vaccine Production and Quality Control, 15 to 19 October 1984, Rome, Italy. 160 pp.

Gordon Scott, GR. & Provost, A. 1992. Global eradication of rinderpest. Keynote paper for the FAO Expert Consultation on Global Rinderpest Eradication, October 1992.

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