On April 9, 2019 the Rosselkhoznadzor representatives took part in the International Symposium on African Swine Fever Prevention and Control in Beijing (China) at the invitation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China.
The symposium began with the opening ceremony at which Minister of Agriculture of China Han Changfu delivered a welcoming speech to the delegates. In his speech he noted that China occupies the first place in the world in production and consumption of pig products. Pork and offal in China are highly demanded goods. The risk globalization related to the increasing trend of ASF spread in the world, and especially after the virus was introduced into Southeast Asia, again highlighted all the prerequisites for early scientific and technical cooperation and consolidation of efforts to control significant transboundary diseases that are highly important for international trade. The importance of supporting this work by international organizations (primarily the OIE and FAO) was also noted. The Minister stressed that, as before, the PRC remains highly transparent in its pursuit of scientific and technical cooperation at the regional, sub-regional and global levels.
OIE Director General Monique Eloit also noted that the ASF risk globalization has expanded the disease control process. At the same time, taking into account their tasks, the OIE will continue to fully assist countries at both the technical (expert) and political levels. She highly appreciated the activity of the PRC in building the processes of ASF control and once again reminded that the ASF global control is still in progress.
FAO Assistant Director-General Bukar Tijani addressed the delegates with a welcoming speech. He noted that the scientific and technical support provided by FAO in monitoring and evaluating the countries’ readiness always shows significant and useful results. In case of the PRC the FAO also follows the principles of openness.
Vice-Minister of Agriculture of the People's Republic of China Yu Kangzhen spoke about the challenges of ASF control in the PRC: the difficulties of protection in the traditional pig sector; considerable length and ecological diversity of state borders; high density of farms. It is also accompanied by unprecedented growth of the economy, which naturally affects the operating activity in the pig sector. He also noted the great work carried out in the PRC on risk notification, the official services’ staff training including in the framework of international cooperation, the introduction of zoning and quality monitoring of control measures, which, in his opinion, allowed to avoid catastrophic consequences.
During the session on “Global Strategy and Biosafety for ASF Prevention and Control” Regional Project Coordinator of the FAO regional office for Asia and the Pacific Wantanee Kalprvidh summarized the main provisions of ASF risk management developed based on the experience of different countries. She particularly noted that from the epidemic point of view the ASF situations are different in Asia and Europe due to the prevalence of infection among wild boars in Asia and prevalence of ASF infection among domestic population in Europe. The seriousness of the global spread of ASF today draws attention to the fact that eliminating ASF in the short term is an unlikely event, so efforts should be aimed at preventing ASF from entering free countries and supporting pig production in affected countries, as well as increasing international cooperation in prevention and control activities. The global strategy for ASF control and its technical issues will be presented at the OIE General Session of the delegates in May 2019.
Head of the OIE Scientific and Technical Department Grigorio Torres highlighted in detail the tools that guarantee safe international trade such as regionalization and compartmentalization, emphasizing the importance of transparency and trust between official veterinary services of importing and exporting countries when using these OIE tools. It is regionalization and compartmentalization that are currently recommended by the OIE as a way to secure trade. At the same time, according to Dr. Torres, today the implementation of compartmentalization is the most effective means of continuing safe trade in pig products.
The representative of the Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection (DG SANTE) of the European Commission Francisco Revere-Gordejo shared EU experience in ASF control at the European Union level. In his presentation he highlighted both the historical experience of individual countries in ASF control and the current measures highlighting the experience of the Czech Republic. The delegates' attention was drawn to the quality of harmonization of veterinary legislation, the network of reference laboratories, audits of countries performed by the European Commission, scientific and technical support from the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) and the effectiveness of the surveillance system. In his opinion, these factors are the basis for both rapid response and grounds for the zone border security within the EU regionalization.
During the session devoted to the disease eradication and regionalization Belgian CVO Jean-François Heymans presented a speech on ASF control in wild boars in Belgium. In addition to the EU regionalization, in order to prevent the spread of the disease, Belgium has erected artificial double fences (barriers), preventing contact with wild populations. Capturing and shooting boars and banning repopulation in the infected zone, among other measures, are current tools for containing ASF spread in Belgium.
José Sánchez-Vizcaino, Director of the OIE Reference Laboratory for African Swine Fever in Madrid, described the 30-year experience in eradicating ASF in Spain, highlighting key country measures: coordination of the eradication program at the country level; full involvement and consistency in the actions of all program participants; good awareness of risks and preventive measures; reliable animal identification and movement control; an effective surveillance program (using the latest / cutting edge developments); proper compensations paid to farmers; increased government attention to the need for ASF research as the basis for the effectiveness of measures.
Silvia Bellini, member of the OIE Scientific and Technical Commission on Terrestrial Animal Diseases, emphasized the role of farm biosafety as a key element of ASF control in her presentation.
The representatives of Cuba, France, Mongolia and Vietnam also shared their experience in ASF eradication and described preventive measures to curb epizootics in their speeches.
Artyom Daushev, Advisor to the Head of the Rosselkhoznadzor, made a presentation on the topic “Measures to control and eradicate ASF. Regionalization, compartmentalization, and electronic certification in the Russian Federation”, elaborating on many years of experience in ASF control in Russia and the main mechanisms that can contain the wide spread of the disease and, at the same time, develop rapid manufacturing of pig products and promote them to export markets.
In conclusion, summing up the Russian experience, delegates both from ASF infected countries and ASF free countries were recommended to pay special attention to: the need for a vertical national coordination of the control measures and prevention of ASF introduction and spread; relevance of federal veterinary regulatory documents both newly introduced and updated; the need to improve the competence and equipment of veterinary services, building reliable and effective supervision and control with the introduction of electronic systems into practice, as the main high-quality tools for regionalization and compartmentalization at the national level recommended by the OIE. Special attention was given to importance of risk communication and international cooperation in the framework of expert interaction at all levels.
Special attention was given to the development of diagnostics, characteristics of the ASF causative agent and progress in the development of vaccines, including the most promising methods of ASFV vaccine strain preparation. Speeches on this topic (the Russian Institute VNIIVIM, the Madrid Institute, the Chinese Center for Epidemiology, the Department of Epidemiology of the Ministry of Agriculture of Spain and the Harbin Veterinary Institute) aroused lively interest. However, the speakers were very cautious when assessing the immediate prospects for development of the ASF vaccine.
Summing up the results of the symposium, officials of the OIE, FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the PRC stressed the importance of such international events both for consolidation of countries' efforts in ASF control and for determining future joint scientific and technical areas of activities aimed at eliminating gaps in current knowledge of ASF nature.
Presentation of A. Daushev, Advisor to the Head of the Rosselkhoznadzor "ASF control and eradication measures. The implementation of regionalization, compartmentalization and electronic certification in the Russian Federation".