The old maxim that prevention is better than cure is very relevant to dealing with CBPP and other TADs. Quarantine is the first line of defence against these diseases, and all countries should devote an appropriate level of resources to ensure that they implement effective border and import quarantine policies and programmes to prevent the introduction of serious livestock diseases.
Risk analyses for CBPP should provide an estimate of the degree of risk of introduction of the disease; the more likely mechanisms and portals of CBPP entry; and the potential seriousness of the consequences should the disease enter the country. This should provide the basis for designing and implementing appropriate preventive strategies for CBPP, and making provision for the necessary resources.
The most important resource in the prevention of CBPP (or any other livestock disease) is the informed animal owner or manager. Cattle owners at all levels of production must be able to recognize CBPP and know what to do when they suspect it. This can only be achieved by intensive farmer training, using media that are easily understood, highly visual, and that will serve as a constant reminder of the disease and its importance. Lines of communication must be established between livestock owners and the veterinary services, using local authorities and agricultural personnel as intermediaries when necessary, who should also be informed about CBPP. It has been pointed out that the only people who see animals every day are their owners, and therefore informed owners or animal attendants constitute the only really viable surveillance resource for animal disease detection.
Chapter 2.1.6 of the OIE International Animal Health Code (2001 Edition), on contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, provides zoo-sanitary guidelines for the safe importation of domestic and wild bovidae for slaughter or breeding purposes. It also sets standards for the international recognition of CBPP-free countries and CBPP-free zones within countries.
The possibility of infected cattle crossing shared borders is probably the greatest risk that most countries face for the entry of CBPP, and it is here that the most effort has to be placed to prevent the entry of the disease into currently CBPP-free countries.
Of course, for officially approved entry of cattle at national borders, the animal health guidelines recommended by the OIE International Animal Health Code for importation of cattle for breeding or for slaughter should be followed in as far as is practicable.
It is, however, the unofficial entry of cattle across national borders that presents the greatest risks and is the most difficult to deal with in respect to preventing the entry of CBPP. Such unofficial entry may occur through trading, or nomadic or transhumance practices. The sudden influx of refugees with their cattle from neighbouring, infected, countries where there is civil strife probably constitutes the greatest of all disease entry risks.
Whilst it may be very difficult or even counterproductive to try to prevent such unofficial cattle entries, every effort should be made to minimize them where practicable, and otherwise to make them safer by trying to ensure that only laboratory-tested healthy or vaccinated cattle cross at approved entry points. This entails developing a close working relationship with animal health authorities in neighbouring countries, both at the national level and at local levels in provinces adjacent to borders. It also entails developing a close relationship with cattle traders and cattle farming communities and herders in high-risk border areas. This is to help to ensure that there is early warning of any known or suspect CBPP activity near the border; that cattle are obtained as far as practicable from CBPP-free areas and are healthy and vaccinated against CBPP; and that any cattle that are sick are held apart from other cattle (i.e. self quarantine) and brought to the attention of local animal health staff as soon as possible.