Wudu T. Jemebru
1 Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences, University of Liverpool, UK
2 Global Burden of Animal Diseases Programme (https://animalhealthmetrics.org)
3 International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
4 Murdoch University, Perth, Australia
Foot-and-mouth and similar transboundary (FAST) diseases are recognized as being the leading causes of problems in the livestock sector. They cause losses in production, incur costs of surveillance, control and prevention and disrupt trade and technology selection. Yet which communities are affected by the FAST diseases?
The paper explores the impact of FAST diseases in three different settings: countries that are free from disease and have incursions; countries that have control programmes for FAST diseases and countries that have endemic FAST diseases. In all settings communities are affected in different ways. In the endemic settings there is increasing evidence of the impact of FAST diseases during outbreaks, and some emerging data that communities not affected by the diseases can be impacted by the control measures. In countries where the diseases are absent, an incursion of a pathogen can lead to impacts across society – the community becomes a much wider concept. In those countries at the point of elimination of a FAST disease there is a need to understand the implications for communities that will affected by a transition from control to surveillance and response measures.
The paper concludes that a focus on FAST diseases alone provides only a partial view of the animal health and welfare burdens that our livestock keep communities manage. If we are to widen our vision, and improve the impact of the animal health system, there will be the need for socio-economic data that allows us to estimate the absolute and relative contributions of the FAST diseases to the overall animal health and welfare burden. In addition, there is a need to understand where these burdens are incurred across the different communities within a society. The Global Burden of Animal Diseases programme is working to provide such data in order to support evidence-based decision-making for the animal health system.