The value of epidemiological investigation as a basis for the treatment and control of animal disease has been recognised for many decades, but the need to apply economic techniques to the formulation and assessment of disease control activities only became apparent about 15 years ago. This arose in part from burgeoning veterinary expenditure demands associated with new, but costly, technology and in part from growing awareness of the significant influence of economic and social factors on patterns of ill-health and disease. FAO published a collation of disease losses in 1963, but it was concern in WHO over the zoonoses which led to the first international initiative, at Reading University in 1972, to develop new methods for the economic, as well as epidemiological, evaluation of animal health programmes.
Since then many national and international agencies have become involved and research and training units have sprung up at several universities around the world. An international society and various national societies have also been formed to provide forums for discussion of the more profound understanding that is emerging of how to improve the health, welfare and productivity of animals. The team which has prepared this manual has demonstrated how representatives of a wide variety of disciplines can, and should, work together not only to control and avoid the major disease hazards which can still decimate animal populations, but also to define how genetics, management, nutrition and environmental adjustment can complement specific veterinary measures. Each member has contributed to a wide variety of research projects and field investigations over the past decade and in so doing, has crystalised a contribution to the training of disease control planners and animal health advisers in Britain and overseas.
Recognising the need to provide such material for reference purposes and a wider range of training activities in Africa, ILCA and VEERU decided to join forces in publishing this manual. While Africa is the main focus, we feel sure that this manual will prove useful in other continents of the world and will further the long-term wellbeing of animals, in their many roles, as well as of people.
P. R. ELLIS
Director of VEERU,
Department of Agriculture and Horticulture,
University of Reading,
P. J. BRUMBY
International Livestock Centre for Africa,