In a globalised world, animal diseases may spread worldwide as a result of an increased trade in animals, food, and feed products and an increased cross-border mobility of humans. In 1994, the OIE developed a procedure for the official recognition of disease status in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code (Terrestrial Code) and the Resolutions adopted by the World Assembly of Delegates. This procedure currently applies to six priority animal diseases: African horse sickness (AHS), bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), classical swine fever (CSF), contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), foot and mouth disease (FMD) and peste des petits ruminants (PPR). The recognition of rinderpest status – also covered by the current procedure - is not taking place anymore following the global eradication of the disease in 2011. A similar procedure also applies to the endorsement by the OIE of official control programmes for CBPP, FMD and PPR. The official recognition of disease status of Member Countries is of great significance for international trade and constitutes one of the most important legal links between the OIE and the World Trade Organization. In light of this, the official recognition of disease status has become an indispensable element for ensuring safe international trade over the past 20 years.

To ensure maintenance of their officially recognised disease status should reconfirm every year that their status has remained unchanged by submitting relevant information specified in the Terrestrial Code.

Subsequent to a disease outbreak or when the Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases determines that the conditions are not met anymore to demonstrate compliance with the relevant requirements of the Terrestrial Code, a disease status may be suspended. The Scientific Commission may decide to reinstate the suspended status when a Member Country has submitted an application which fulfils all the requirements requested for the recovery of official disease status laid out in the relevant chapters of the Terrestrial Code. The suspensions and recoveries of disease status are announced by the Director General of the OIE in consultation with the Scientific Commission and are published on the OIE website.