On September 2 – 6, 2019 another meeting of the OIE Regional Commission for Asia, Far East and Oceania took place in Sendai, Japan. Representatives of 22 national veterinary services of the region, international organizations, like World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), World Trade Organization (WTO), World Bank and Asian Development Bank took part in the event. The Russian Federation was represented by Adviser to the Head of the Rosselkhoznadzor Nikita Lebedev and Head of the Reference Laboratory for ASF Alexey Igolkin (FGBI “Federal Centre for Animal Health”).
The focus was given to the issues of OIE recommendations and standard implementation, as well as to transboundary animal disease spread prevention, in particular of African swine fever.
The technical topics of the meeting were food safety and African swine fever epidemics in the Asian region. While discussing food safety special attention was given to antimicrobial resistance control. The participants concluded that this problem would only worsen, if it were not supported technically and politically.
Hot discussions were devoted to ASF spread control, as currently it is a real threat to the regional food security. The participants noted that pork and poultry are the major animal protein source for Southeast Asia, and in case of ASF or AI epidemics (with all relevant consequences) this could become a real problem for resilient livelihood of local population. Another big problem in the region is insufficient transparency of some infected countries and failure to control ASF spread in wild boar. Based on the results of a task group discussion, which included the RF representatives, final recommendations were elaborated, reflecting the priorities of measures taken. Besides the representatives of some countries, OIE and FAO proposed to include the Russian specialists into a permanent ASF group for Asian countries, formed under umbrella of the Global Framework for Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs).
Another discussion at the event was devoted to rabies control and reductions of rabies-associated human deaths. Southeast Asia together with Africa report the highest numbers of deaths caused by rabies, and the major reason for that is huge populations of stray dogs, who are the natural reservoir of the virus. For the purposes of rabies progressive control, OIE and FAO representatives established a common task to decrease rates of dog rabies-associated human deaths to zero to 2030.
The basic trends of the 7th OIE Strategic Plan (2021-2025), focused on communications between OIE members on public migrations, climate change, socio-economic issues and capacity building and coordination of the OIE Reference centres for different diseases were presented to the participants. In this context, the Russian specialists held a number of meetings with the representatives of Asian countries (Myanma, Mongolia, China, Vietnam etc.) on cooperation between scientific centres in ASF, AI, FMD and LSD research and joint studies. The next meeting of the Regional Commission will be held in 2021 in Thailand.