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UN agency aims to combat contagious animal diseases

UN agency aims to combat contagious animal diseases

With livestock and avian diseases spreading across boarders more rapidly and increasing the likelihood of human health emergencies, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has teamed with an international agency monitoring animal health to set up a global information and early warning system on highly contagious animal illnesses.

In a joint statement issued today, FAO and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) announced the signing yesterday of an agreement to strengthen their collaboration, and called on all countries and donors in the meantime to invest more in the control of contagious transboundary animal diseases.

"Animal diseases spreading between countries, such as foot-and-mouth disease and avian influenza, are often having a severe economic and social impact," the two agencies said. Such animal diseases are on the rise as a result of international trade and the movement of people and animals.

"Animal diseases that cross borders need an immediate and effective regional or international response," they said.

While OIE is a body that collects official information provided by countries, sets standards and guidelines and issues recommendations on safety of international trade of animals and animal products, on animal health and zoonoses, FAO advises countries on good agricultural practices, disease control and eradication methods.