AGA IN ACTION
Pathways to Success: Brucellosis Control Programme in Tajikistan
Brucellosis is an infectious disease of humans and animals caused by contact withdifferent species ofbacteriacalled Brucella. Thesebacteria infect cattle, goats, camels, dogs, pigs, yaks, buffaloes, and some marine mammals. Humans can easily be infected through contact with birth fluids and placenta or foetus of infected animals, and by eating or drinking un-pasteurized milk or cheeses.
The incidence of human and animal brucellosis is believed to be rising in many Central Asian and Caucasian countries. In fact, seven former Soviet Union republics are among the 25 countries with the highest incidence of brucellosis in humans worldwide. Considering the potentially detrimental consequences on human and animal populations, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is attempting to reduce the prevalence of brucellosis in Tajikistan and limit its spread within and across Central Asia and the Caucas.
Description of programme
The programme activities consists of planning and coordinating regional workshops, active participation in regional brucellosis control councils or platforms, promoting capacity-building exercises, providing technical support to advance cutting-edge knowledge and practical experience in animal health practices, and assistance in developing sound strategies and policies for sustainable control programmes against brucellosis and other transboundary animal diseases.
Authorities in Central Asian and Caucasian countries recognize that brucellosis is endemic in the region and agree that regional collaboration in controlling this and other zoonotic diseases could leverage ongoing national veterinary efforts and reduce animal and human disease burdens. In response, FAO is encouraging regular and formal discussions of mutual problems, open and transparent information sharing, harmonization of strategies related to control methods, diagnostic protocols and disease monitoring as essential pillars to effectively control brucellosis and other pernicious animal diseases in the region.
To successfully achieve its goals and objectives, the FAO brucellosis control programme in Tajikistan counts on generous financial contributions from the European Commission (EC) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
Since 2003, the implementation of sheep and goat bi-annual eye drop vaccinations with quality-controlled Brucella melitensis Rev 1 vaccine coupled with ear notch identification of vaccinated animals in eight high-disease incidence districts resulted in an 83 per cent reduction in sheep and goat brucellosis prevalence after six years of starting vaccination rounds.
Also, in 2009, the FAO sub-regional office for Central Asia in Ankara managed to bring together national veterinary service representatives from seven Central Asian and Caucasian countries plus a representative from The World Bank to review current brucellosis management strategies and promote regionally coordinated approaches for cost-effective control measures against the disease. The FAO brucellosis control programme in Tajikistan is one of the most successful in the region.