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OIE International Conference on the Control of Infectious Animal Diseases by Vaccination

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) organised in collaboration with the International Association for Biologicals (IABs) and the Servicio Nacional de Sanidad Animal (SENASA) of Argentina, an international conference on the control of infectious animal diseases by vaccination which was held from 13 to 16 April 2004 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The meeting which was attended by over 300 scientists of international repute representing some 50 countries, was open by Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General of the OIE in the presence of Ministers and other dignitaries of the region.

During the past few years the world witnessed the global emergence and re-emergence of several infectious animal diseases and zoonoses that have had a major impact on both animal and human health. The mass killing of animals applied during the foot and mouth disease crisis in 2001 in Europe and during the recent avian influenza epidemic in South East Asia when more than 100 million birds either died or were destroyed has posed considerable ethical, technical, ecological and economic problems.

During his intervention at the conference, the Director General of the OIE, Dr. Bernard Vallat said that this situation was no longer acceptable either to the international scientific community or to the public at large the more so that in many areas of the world, human beings are still being deprived of valuable proteins in their diet. “It is urgent that scientists come forward with alternative methods of disease control that will not only avoid wastage of valuable animal proteins but that will also promote the international trade of animals and animal products by removing technically unjustified trade barriers caused by animal diseases”, he added.. “This is a major mission of the OIE in assisting to alleviate poverty caused by restricted market access due to animal diseases particularly in developing countries”, Dr. Vallat also said.

During the conference, many scientific papers and poster presentations covering a wide range of infectious animal diseases including zoonoses were presented. Much emphasis was placed on the quality of vaccines to be used and the diagnostic tests to be applied in order to differentiate infected from vaccinated animals (DIVA tests).

The OIE, being the international reference organisation for animal health and zoonoses has incorporated wherever possible into its standards, the best “state of the art” scientific knowledge on the use of appropriate diagnostic tests, disease prevention and control by vaccination. Vaccination has proved its capacity to help prevent, control, and eradicate disease as exemplified by smallpox, rinderpest and rabies.

The OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code and the Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals have thus been updated to include the latest diagnostic tests capable of differentiating vaccinated from infected animals. With specific regard to the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code, it is worth mentioning that these tests have already been applied to certain diseases such as FMD, and are being considered for other as regards disease control and recovery of disease free status following disease outbreaks.

View the recommendations of the Conference.