OIE: Techinical Meeting Discusses Effects of Schmallenberg on Trade

GLOBAL - The meeting allowed the participants to share views on the potential risks of spread of the Schmallenberg virus through international trade in relevant animals and animal products.
calendar icon 22 May 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) organised on May 7-8 2013 an informal technical meeting on the risks related to trade in live bovines and small ruminants, their germplasm and products from countries where Schmallenberg infection is present.

Participants in the meeting included OIE experts Prof Steven Edwards (Chair of the meeting and previous chair of the Biological Standards Commission), Dr Ann Brigitte Cay (Belgium), Dr Peter Kirkland (Australia), Dr Toshiyuki Tsutsui (Japan), representatives from Belarus, the Federation of Russia and Kazakhstan. Dr Francisco Reviriego-Gordejo, from the Directorate General for Health and Consumers of the European Commission and Dr Kazimieras Lukauskas OIE Representative in Moscow, as well as several officers from OIE Headquarters attended as observers.

The group especially discussed the Technical factsheet published by the OIE on its website after acceptance by the elected OIE Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases (SCAD).

The country representatives from Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan also insisted on the current status of the criteria used by the OIE for inclusion of any animal disease on the OIE list of notifiable diseases (found in Chapter 1.1 of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code), as well as on the status of the data available on the impact of the disease in susceptible species.

The inclusion of an animal disease to the OIE list follows a detailed procedure: a recommendation by the OIE relevant ad hoc Group, which is based on the use of a precise decision tree (found in Chapter 1.2 of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code), is submitted for the endorsement by the relevant elected specialist Commissions before it is presented for final adoption by the World Assembly of Delegates.

In May 2012 the OIE Member Countries adopted revised listing criteria in Chapter 1.2. of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code. The OIE ad hoc Group on Notification of Animal Diseases and Pathogenic Agents considered Schmallenberg virus (and other diseases) for listing against the new criteria in July 2012 and recommended, at that time, against listing Schmallenberg virus.

This position was accepted by the Terrestrial Code Commission in September 2012 and the report of the ad hoc Group was forwarded to Member Countries as an annex of the Code Commission report.

However OIE Member Countries must always notify Schmallenberg virus as an emerging disease to the OIE when it is first detected. Submission of follow up reports to the OIE after notification can be stopped when the disease becomes endemic within the Member Country’s territory. In many countries the spread of the disease can be linked to the natural movement of the infected Culicoides vector.

To date 19 OIE Member Countries from the regional Commission of Europe have sent information to the OIE on Schmallenberg infection as an emerging disease and these notifications have been published in the World Animal Health Information Database (WAHID) on the OIE website or will be confirmed during the OIE World Assembly.

The request by Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus to the OIE to consider Schmallenberg infection as an OIE-listed disease has been officially given to the OIE Director General. The Director General will transmit the request to the relevant bodies for a new examination, following again the official procedures.

After the meeting some new national measures including on semen and embryos have been taken in accordance with a part of the current OIE guidelines.

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