Emerging livestock diseases will entail enhanced biosecurity measures, animal disease experts from the Philippines, Australia and the United Kingdom said in a recent online forum.
According to the Philippine-hosted Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture based in Los Baños, Laguna this was discussed in “Livestock Diseases and Zoonoses: How Secure are Biosecurity Measures?”
Searca Director Glenn Gregorio said the forum through the Searca Online Learning and Virtual Engagements highlighted specific concrete and practical actions on the ground to disseminate and promote these to stakeholders in the agriculture sector and the public.
University of London Professor Richard Kock noted that when there are zoonoses (naturally transmissible infection from animals to humans) there is usually an animal reservoir that leads to infection.
He noted that emerging zoonoses are mostly associated with tropical and sub-tropical climates, which could also mean that the main burden of zoonoses is in developing countries adding that human pathogens that evolved from wildlife source organisms are influenza A, HIV, SARS CoV, rabies, and dengue. Brenda Jocson
“Disease emergence can be classified as a cost of development as it has social, economic, and trade impacts which are costly, as what can be seen with the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic,” Kock said.
He explained that conditions created in domestic animal production systems and human landscapes provide opportunities for pathogen jumping and evolution, amplification and spread, directly or through livestock, to humans.
According to University of Queensland veterinary epidemiology senior research fellow Tamsin Barnes, what makes biosecurity measures effective would be the human behavior component.
“The scientific principles of biosecurity are very important, but so too is the human behavior component,” she said.
Barnes shared experiences in a project that introduced practical biosecurity measures which helped farmers keep their swine from contracting ASF. There was enhanced awareness and understanding as a result among the community which is essential, and a group level approach that is beneficial.
She said scientists, social scientists, and all community members must work together to enable greater potential for biosecurity measures to be adopted, and to continue to be used in the longer term to improve animal health and human livelihoods.
Anthony Bucad of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry said a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development showed that every Filipino consumes an average of 28.8 kilograms of meat annually, making the livestock industry a priority focus of the DA.
According to the DA-BAI, legislation and policies that push the livestock sector to the top of government priorities are being implemented.
It said animal disease reporting mechanism was formed to improve the surveillance system in the Philippines in early detection of diseases and monitoring of disease outbreaks.
Border control policies are likewise in place such as the Pre-Border Measures for the Export of Meat and Meat Products to the Philippines since 2006 (DA Admin. Order #16 s2006) and Importation Procedures for Live Animals (DA Memorandum Circular #12 s2017), Bucad said.
“The National Biosecurity Guidelines of the Philippines is being drafted while awareness campaigns such as the Sampung Utos ng Biosecurity are also implemented to improve knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of biosecurity to prevent disease events both in a commercial or backyard setting,” he added.
Other campaigns carried out include emergency preparedness plans for rabies, avian influenza, African swine fever (ASF) and foot and mouth disease while capacity building activities are also conducted for local counterparts to help DA-BAI with its mandate of animal disease prevention and control.
“We are urging the public to cooperate in animal disease control and prevention and to coordinate with the local government in the event of an animal disease outbreak in their community,” Bucad said.