One health approach to African swine fever

Written by Raixa Luger and Eva Bravo*

Contributors Prensa Latina

This translates into a diverse range of actors and work related to sustainable agriculture, animal and plant health, forestry, aquaculture, food safety, antimicrobial resistance, food security, nutrition and livelihoods.

Ensuring a One Health approach is essential to achieving progress in anticipating, preventing, detecting, containing and controlling diseases that spread between animals and humans, ensuring food safety, preventing environmentally related human and animal health threats and combating many other challenges.

One such challenge is African swine fever (ASF).

Assets and preventive measures

In August 2021, after a 40-year absence, a resurgence of African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks was announced in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, prompting enhanced containment programs in both countries to mitigate the impact of the disease and prevent its spread to the continent. Hispaniola.

In order to avoid expansion across the Caribbean and the Americas, strengthening border controls and risk communication through a preventive approach has been the focus of work in the rest of the countries across the region, along with strengthening surveillance and emergency preparedness programmes. .

In today’s globalized world, there is a greater risk of the spread of animal diseases due to cross-border movements of people, animals and products, coupled with climate change that alters the distribution of vectors and production systems.

Capacity enhancement

Priority diseases in the Americas, such as African swine fever, require not only a commitment from people to avoid transporting animals or products, but also strengthening the capabilities of national veterinary services to prepare for and contain emergencies, and to identify opportunities. Throughout livestock chains, promoting biosecurity under a “One Health” approach.

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Recognizing this, and in support of the Government of Haiti to strengthen its response capacity, FAO in Panama City organized a workshop for professionals from the Health Protection Unit and the Ministry of Agriculture.

At this meeting, several tools provided by FAO were presented, based on a critical analysis of strengths and identification of improvement opportunities in the areas of biosafety, health management, surveillance and reporting, early warning and response, information management, and mitigation and response. Containment, among others.

At FAO, we are promoting a regional approach as the only way to address these types of diseases that do not respect borders, and we reaffirm the importance of coordinated action across sectors to protect health and prevent threats to our agri-food systems. . .


*The authors are an agricultural officer and an agricultural health specialist, respectively, both from FAO Central America.

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