Paris-based OIE said the early detection, prevention and surveillance of wild animal disease was essential to ensure dangerous diseases did not spread to farm animals and damage the supply chain.
It said that, on average, five new infectious diseases, such as the Zika virus or Ebola that impact humans, are detected every year. Of the five, three of the new diseases derive from wild animals and these can be spread to commercial livestock farms or humans.
As a result of this, the OIE said it “recognises the importance of healthy wildlife populations, which are sentinels for human and domestic animal health for infectious diseases and toxic threats”, in a statement published today (3 March 2016).
Within the body’s framework to improve animal health and welfare, the OIE said it assisted its 180 member countries in ways to address disease impact on wild animals, not just intensive farm animals.
Over the years the body said it had developed an international framework for dealing with animal diseases that derive from wild animals. And through its adoption of its sixth strategic plan, which was agreed in May 2015, the OIE identifies ways the global community can engage with animal disease issues in wildlife.
It said it would work to influence global policy decisions on the handling of wildlife disease, as well as on education, research and governance on global issues that combine the health of animals and the ecosystem.