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THREE PRIORITIES FOR COUNTRIES THAT ARE MEMBERS OF THE OFFICE INTERNATIONAL DES ÉPIZOOTIES IN EUROPE: SURVEILLANCE OF ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE AND CONTROL OF CLASSICAL SWINE FEVER
AND FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE

The 18th Conference of the Regional Commission for Europe of the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) was held in Prague (Czech Republic) from 22 to 25 September 1998.

This Conference, to which were invited the heads of Veterinary Services from 50 European countries, drew up a full report on the animal health situation in the region.

The most worrying animal diseases remain:

  • classical swine fever, which affects several European countries with very serious economic consequences,

  • bovine spongiform encephalopathy, which is still a subject of concern for public health and for safeguarding international trade,

  • rabies in wild animals, which constitutes a grave problem in eastern Europe,

  • foot and mouth disease, which still represents a serious threat in the Balkans and the Caucasus.

* * *

During this 18th Conference, three subjects attracted special attention:

 

  • The role of international trade in animals, animal products and feed in the spread of transferable antibiotic resistance and possible methods for control of the spread of infectious resistance factors.

    The results of a survey carried out by the OIE Collaborating Centre for Veterinary Medicinal Products revealed huge disparities (and even serious shortcomings) in the surveillance of antibiotic resistance to infectious agents found in animals. This prompted the OIE Regional Commission for Europe to recommend an increased surveillance effort on the part of Member Countries and the creation of an OIE specialist group, which will present proposals aimed at harmonising surveillance methods and standardising the criteria used for determining antibiotic resistance.

  • Strategies for controlling classical swine fever, including the application of modern vaccines.

    Classical swine fever is still a subject of great concern for all European countries. Two particularly important issues were debated in Prague: the potential role of wild boar in the development and maintenance of the epidemic, and what progress could be expected from authorisation to put on the market new serological marker vaccines to prevent the disease without harming international trade. The Commission asked Member Countries to take into account these two elements in their control programmes and to modify their regulations, where applicable, to facilitate the application of these programmes.

  • Control of foot and mouth disease

    The participants of the 18th Conference recommended the creation of a group composed of a representative from the Office International des Epizooties, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the European Commission. This tripartite OIE/FAO/EC group, in close cooperation with the countries of the Community of Independent States (CIS), will be responsible for proposing a complete control programme for foot and mouth disease in the countries that are threatened by the spread of the disease.

    * * *

    The Prague meeting once again demonstrated that the OIE Regional Conferences for Europe provide an ideal meeting place for the heads of Veterinary Services throughout the continent. In particular, they allow fruitful dialogue between Member States of the European Union and the countries of central and eastern Europe, thus promoting the development of trade and technology transfers so vital to advances in stock breeding.

    There emerged a communal desire to harmonise the surveillance and control methods used to protect animal health without endangering public health.

    PARIS, 25 September 1998

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