On the 17th and 18th of November 2023, the TAFS Conference on "Importance of vaccines, diagnostics, and appropriate surveillance systems in disease control" was held in Abu Dhabi. The regional event brought together representatives from the Middle East, North and East Africa, as well as industry stakeholders and international animal health experts. During 5 sessions over the course of two days, the participants discussed and shared experiences on transboundary animal diseases (TADs), focusing on the control and surveillance measures implemented, and the importance of using appropriate tools and control strategies.
Patrik Buholzer: Animal disease emergencies in a globally interconnected world
Ahmad Almajali: Regional epidemiological situation on TADs of ruminants
Sabri Hacıoglu: Transboundary Animal Disease Control Measures in Türkiye
Muhammad Afzal: Transboundary Animal Diseases of Ruminants in Pakistan
Bouda Vosough Ahmadi: Reflection on the economic impact of animal diseases
Amjad M. Darwish: Importance of Animal Identification and Traceability in Disease Control
Ana Taffarel: Successful FMD control – The South American example
Berecha Bayissa: Importance of Quality Vaccines, Experience in the East Africa Region
Ahmad Almajali: Importance of quality vaccines, experience in the MENA region
Amanda Hodges: Mitigating the risk of exotic disease incursion in Australia
At the TAFS FMD Conference "Towards a paradigm shift on the FMD-free with vaccination status" in Bangkok on the 4th of August 2023, representatives from the public and private sectors of Asian countries gathered with international animal health specialists. The conference's main objectives were to talk about the present FMD epidemiological situation, control and surveillance techniques, and the need for a paradigm change regarding the FMD-free with vaccination status.
The day's first session centered around the issues associated with FMD control under the current epidemiological scenario.
Patrik Buholzer (TAFS Forum) gave a summary of the most significant animal disease-related events on a global scale. Patrik emphasized that due the increasing global commerce, global warming, and other elements of growing concern, a comprehensive strategy that integrates technology advancements is required to control diseases such as avian influenza, African swine fever, and foot-and-mouth disease.
An overview of the latest FMD outbreaks and an update on the disease's global epidemiological developments were provided by Dr. Nadav Galon (former CVO of Israel). To monitor and manage FMD, Nadav underlined the significance of high-quality diagnostics and vaccines. Highlighting that in a population at risk, where vaccines are not easily accessible to limit viral transmission, an FMD virus introduction can be disastrous. Using the recent arrival of SAT2 FMD serotypes into the Middle East region as an example, Nadav also stressed that conventional endemic viral pools are no longer consistent and that new FMD serotypes are expected to be detected outside of their original pool more often than in the past.
The local challenges in FMD control were highlighted in the session's final three presentations.
In addition to providing an update on the FMD epidemiological situation in Thailand, Dr. Boonsuya Seeyo Kingkarn from the Regional Reference Laboratory for FMD in Southeast Asia (RRL) also presented Thailand's national FMD management strategy.
Even though the Philippines have been free of FMD without vaccination since 2015, a strict surveillance plan is in place due to the Southeast Asian epidemiological environment. A report on the Philippines' FMD emergency preparedness plan was given by Dr. Arlene Asteria Vytiaco, assistant director of the country's Bureau of Animal Industry and national coordinator / focal point for SEACFMD.
Dr. Raphee Panyathong, Director of Swine Veterinary Service in the North Area of CP (Charoen Pokphand), discussed the difficulties producers face when attempting to control FMD.
The technological advancements in vaccines and diagnostics were the topic of the second session of the day.
From a variety of angles, the significance of high-quality vaccines and diagnostics was discussed. Dr. Filip Claes (FAO) and Dr. Karma Rinzin (WOHA) shared their perspectives as representatives of the international organizations they represent, Dr. Rodolfo Bellinzoni (Biogenesis Bago) provided the perspective of a vaccine producer, about the importance of high-quality standards, and Dr. Nadav Galon presented the main considerations that the national responsible authorities must consider when choosing an FMD vaccine.
A discussion of FMD control tools was held at the end of this session. Participants unequivocally agreed that reliable, high-quality vaccines and diagnostic tests, along with effective surveillance and control programs, are the essential pillars for FMD control and surveillance.
The final session's main topic was the need for a paradigm shift that recognizes the FMD-free status with and without vaccination as equivalent. Dr. Pedro Moura (SAFOSO) outlined the main points of the position paper and invited participants to share their experiences and thoughts on the subject after.
The need for a paradigm shift and the participants' points of view on the subjects were exchanged during a lively discussion.
Patrik Buholzer: Animal disease emergencies in a globally interconnected world
Nadav Galon: FMD Global Situation Overview
Kingkarn Boonsuya Seeyo: Update on the current FMD Situation in Thailand
Arlene Asteria V. Vytiaco: The FMD emergency preparedness plan of the Philippines
Filip Claes: Importance of reliable diagnostics
On the 1st and 2nd of June 2023, representatives from Asia region and international experts came together at the TAFS FMD Conference “Towards a paradigm shift on the FMD-free with vaccination status” in Seoul. They discussed the current FMD situation, control and surveillance measures and the need for a paradigm shift on the FMD-free with vaccination status.
The first day emphasized the current state of animal disease with a focus on FMD. Professor Dr. James Roth from Iowa State University spoke about the significance of being prepared for animal disease emergencies as well as the current problems we are facing. James explained to us the risks associated with the global spread of avian influenza as well as the most recent developments with ASF.
Dr. Donald King from the Pirbright Institute gave an overview of recent FMD-related events and a status report on the epidemiological situation of the disease around the world, highlighting the value of high-quality diagnostics and vaccines as tools for monitoring and controlling FMD. He also drew attention to the recent introduction of the SAT2 FMD serotypes into the Middle East region, underlining that when the FMD virus finds a naive population and vaccines to support the control its spread are not widely accessible, such an incursions can have catastrophic effects.
In the last session of the day, the FMD situation in three Asian countries and the challenges associated with controlling the disease were presented. The audience was particularly interested in Dr. Song-Ha Chas' update on the FMD situation with the recent outbreaks in South Korea. Dr. Duc-Huy Chu provided an overview of the FMD situation in Vietnam and the approach used to control it. Dr. Siti Yulianti of Indonesia discussed the 2022 FMD virus incursion as well as the strategy and difficulties for controlling the FMD situation.
All of the participants shared their experiences and thoughts about what they had heard as the day came to a close in a lively discussion.
Professor Dr Ulrich Kihm’s presentation about the history of FMD control on the second day of the conference highlighted the importance of the scientific progress achieved in controlling FMD over the last decades. He emphasized the significance of FMD vaccines for the prevention and elimination of this disease across Europe, including significant improvements that have been achieved.
Dr. Jorge Bonino Morlan from Uruguay explained how they have been successfully managing FMD. He emphasized the key components of the South American FMD control model, as well as the trade opportunities it has been created for Uruguay. He also demonstrated what other countries and regions could learn from Uruguay.
Following that, the significance of high-quality diagnostics and vaccines was discussed from various angles. Drs. Filip Claes (FAO) and Karma Rinzin (WOHA) provided us with the perspective of an international organization, Dr. Rodolfo Bellinzoni (Biogenesis Bago) provided us with the perspective of a vaccine manufacturer, and Dr. Nadav Galon (former CVO of Israel) provided us with the perspective of a nation that has been using FMD vaccines for a long time.
There was a clear consensus that effective FMD control and surveillance depends on reliable diagnostics and high-quality vaccines, as well as sound surveillance and control plans.
The afternoon was dedicated to the need for a paradigm shift in the recognition of the FMD-free with vaccination status as equivalent to FMD-free without vaccination. Following the presentation, the key elements of the position paper on the FMD paradigm shift (Position Paper) were presented by Dr Pedro Moura (SAFOSO), all of the participants engaged in a lively, interactive discussion.
It can be concluded that the TAFS FMD conference “Towards a paradigm shift on the FMD-free with vaccination status” was a great success. It laid the basis for further discussions and exchange in the region, as well as the way forward towards a paradigm shift of the FMD-free with vaccination status. FMD-free is FMD-free regardless of the vaccination status.
James Roth: Animal Disease Emergency Preparedness-New Challenges
Donald King: Overview of recent global FMD events
Siti Yulianti: FMD situation in Indonesia
Duc-Huy Chu: FMD situation and control in Vietnam
Ulrich Kihm: History of FMD control
Jorge Bonino Morlán: FMD control in South America
Filip Claes: Importance of reliable diagnostics
On December 7th, 2022, the TAFS Forum held a virtual meeting, with the support of Foro Mercosur de la Carne, on the need for a paradigm shift of the official FMD-free with vaccination status.
About60 participants attended the event, including representatives from the livestock industry, academia, governmental institutions from all over South America and international organizations.
Following a stakeholder workshop held in Buenos Aires, in April 2022 and a virtual workshop with members of Foro Mercosur de la Carne in August 2022, this was the third event organized by TAFS on this topic.
In this virtual meeting, the different South American stakeholders were updated on the global FMD epidemiological situation, and the progress made towards the achievement of a paradigm shift of the perception of the FMD-free status with vaccination. The invited speakers explained, from different perspectives, why a change of paradigm is not only reasonable and necessary, but also why there are no longer any scientific reasons to distinguish between the two FMD-free statuses, with or without vaccination. During the open discussion at the end of the virtual meeting, all the participants agreed that there are no reasons to treat the two statuses "FMD-free with vaccination” and “FMD-free without vaccination" differently and that “FMD-free is FMD-free, regardless of vaccination status.”
On 27-28 April 2022, the TAFS Forum organized a “Workshop on a Paradigm shift of the ‘FMD-free with vaccination’ status” in Buenos Aires, Argentina with the support of Fundación PROSAIA, Confederaciones Rurales Argentinas, Asociacion Rural del Uruguay and Consorcio de Exportadores de Carnes Argentinas.
The objective of the workshop was to initiate a discussion among stakeholders from the meat industries in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay on the equivalence of the “FMD-free with vaccination” status to the “FMD-free without vaccination” status. In the workshop, a position paper that provides the justifications for why the “FMD-free with vaccination” status should be considered to have equivalent safe sanitary value as the “FMD-free without vaccination” status was discussed in detail for agreement and improvement.
It was the first workshop of additional workshops to follow to continue the discussion with international stakeholders and to determine the way forward towards equivalency between the “FMD-free with vaccination” and the “FMD-free without vaccination” statuses.
The TAFS Forum is organizing a workshop on a paradigm shift in the global perception of the “FMD-free with vaccination” status with the support of PROSAIA, CRA, and ABC in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 27-28 April 2022.
The purpose of the workshop is to initiate a discussion among regional actors in the production and meat value chain on the equivalence of the "FMD-free with vaccination" status to the “FMD-free without vaccination” status. Stakeholders in South America are invited to discuss topics such as the advantages and disadvantages of opening trading markets with countries that are “FMD-free with vaccination” and the safeguards that would need to be in place.
It is the first workshop of additional workshops to follow to continue the discussion with international stakeholders and to determine the way forward.
For more information on the event, please contact Patrik.Buholzer@tafsforum.org.
The TAFS forum is seeking new members. If you are interested, please contact us and describe what you might be able to contribute to the TAFS forum. We look forward to hearing from you.