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News & features archive, 2011

FAO is working on upgrading live bird market biosecurity in Guangzhou, China

© FAO/V. Martin

23 September 2011 - Pandemics, most of which have their origins in animal species, are epidemics of infectious diseases that spread through human populations across large regions such as a continent, or even worldwide. Their impact in terms of health, economic, and social consequences can be disastrous and permanent.

There have been a number of significant pandemics recorded in human history, but the frequency and impact of emerging and reemerging animal diseases have increased over the past decades. In fact, 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases in humans have their origin in animals and, of these, insidious diseases emerging from wildlife represents the vast majority. Today, there is global recognition that more animal-borne diseases can be expected in the future and handling the infectious uncertainty has become an imperative.

The rising number of disease events places challenges on contemporary ways of living. To feed a growing population, the world needs to produce more food every year. The intensification of livestock production, the concentration of intensive production systems in close proximity to urban population centers observed in some countries, and husbandry practices with inadequate biosecurity measures all contribute to the emergence of diseases and their transmission, both among animals and humans. These factors influence the dynamics of viral pathogens which adopt new behaviors such as expanding geo-ecological range, jumping species, and/or changing to a higher level of virulence.

Some of the actions to mitigate disease emergence and reemergence are included in biosecurity measures along the market value chain. But these activities can only be successful if done in close collaboration between the private and public sectors, in the form of private-public partnerships (PPP).

To this end, following a first mission in China by three international experts [Bob Burden, PPP Advisor; Andrew Almond, Biosecurity Technical Advisor; and Astrid Tripodi, Animal Disease Management Expert] to review the practical implementation of PPP activities, a second mission to Guangzhou (China) was organized in early August to present to the Veterinary Authorities and relevant stakeholders the action plan for live bird market restructuring.

A meeting was held on 2 August 2011 in Guangzhou and was attended by representatives from Guangdong Provincial Veterinary Services, Guangzhou Animal Health Inspection Institute, and relevant stakeholders from Guangzhou Jiangcun Poultry Wholesale Market. During the meeting, the action plan for live bird market restructuring was presented. Seven biosecurity Critical Control Point (CCP) proposed by the international experts were discussed.

The CCPs included in the action plan for live bird market restructuring are the following:

  1. Single entry and single exit-one way flow;
  2. Develop Cleaning and Disinfection (C&D) stations;
  3. Training on Biosecurity and C&D practices;
  4. Bamboo crate decommissioning;
  5. C&D of market sheds;
  6. Water testing for chlorine;
  7. Disposal issues.

In addition to the above described, FAO’s Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) in China also conducted a social network analysis survey. They collected questionnaires related to market value chains in order to obtain baseline information about vendors’ trading practices. All the information collected was shared with local authorities to improve biosecurity measures in the region.

FAO’s Animal Health Service (AGAH) assist Member Countries wishing to take full advantage of the rapidly growing and transforming livestock sector while upholding public health and national priorities. These efforts support FAO’s mandate to raise the levels of nutrition, improve agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural populations, and contribute to the growth of the world economy.