Bangkok, Thailand, 11 Jun 2012 -- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) will hold a global meeting on foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Bangkok in June, bringing together 400 of the leading experts working on the latest tools, technology and strategies for bringing FMD under control.
FMD has been largely eliminated from developed nations, but it continues to sap developing nations of the economic benefits of being rid of the disease and remains a threat to countries that are free from FMD. Across much of Africa, South and Central Asia, the Middle East and certain areas of South America, hundreds of millions of dollars are lost every year due to restrictions on trade in animals and animal products, as well as vastly reduced domestic production of live animals, meat and especially dairy.
Milk production from cows, goats, sheep and other affected animals is drastically reduced and of poorer quality, and may never regain previous levels. The poorest farmers sometimes have to sell their very last assets, receiving a pittance for animals that are sick and likely to remain chronically debilitated even once they get over the illness. FMD thus keeps vulnerable communities rooted in poverty.
Foot-and-mouth disease is one of the most contagious viruses known to veterinary medicine. It’s not a direct threat to human health, but the disease erodes the fabric of human societies by limiting access to basic nutrition and limiting the purchasing power of the poorest families. Families that depend on animals to plow fields, reap harvests and get them to market also can no longer do so. So foot-and-mouth disease eventually leads to human hunger.
FAO and the OIE together have developed a strategy to bring FMD under control worldwide. The strategy can be adapted for other high-impact animal diseases that continue to decimate herds and the lives of the 1 billion people worldwide who depend on livestock for food and economic security.
High-level government officials, national chief veterinary officers, pharmaceutical industry leaders, representatives of international organizations and global financial institutions, vaccine researchers and the top scientists in the field will be attending the conference.
Invitation to news organizations
Journalists and news organizations are invited to attend the conference at the Plaza Athenee Hotel in Bangkok from 27 to 29 June 2012.
Members of the press who are registered for the meeting will have access to all sessions of the meeting, coffee breaks and lunches.
After the opening ceremony on 27 June, one-on-one interviews with HE Chumpol Silpa-archa, Thai deputy prime minister, and the heads of the FAO and OIE delegations will be facilitated.
At the conclusion of the meeting, a press conference will be held on Friday 29 June around 1700 hours (further details to be provided later).
For media registration, please bring along a relevant letter from your employer and your national press accreditation card.
For journalists not accredited to Thailand, please email in advance the FAO Information Officer in Bangkok, Diderik.deVleeschauwer@fao.org , indicating your interest to obtain accreditation / registration and attend the meeting. The press application should be accompanied by a copy of your national press accreditation card and a letter from your employer.