News from OIE Wildlife Working Group

The Role of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in Wildlife Disease Surveillance
The need to fight animal diseases at the global level led to the creation of the Office International des Epizooties (World Organisation for Animal Health; OIE) through an international agreement signed on January 25th, 1924. The OIE is the intergovernmental organization with 182 Member Countries responsible for improving animal health and welfare worldwide and is the relevant organization for Animal Health to the World Trade Organization. The OIE maintains permanent relations with nearly 75 other international organizations and has regional and sub-regional offices on every continent. The OIE recognizes the threats to public, animal and environmental health from wildlife diseases and encourages all countries to increase capacity to conduct surveillance, early detection, and initiate appropriate response to outbreaks and spread of diseases in wildlife. Specific activities of the OIE related to wildlife diseases include a standing Working Group on Wildlife to provide the OIE with scientific expertise on wildlife diseases, the development of science-based standards related to disease risks at the interface among wildlife, domestic animals, and humans, support to Member Countries to strengthen their Veterinary Services to protect animal health including aspects related to wildlife and biodiversity, and surveillance of wildlife diseases and notification of animal diseases through the global OIE information systems WAHIS and WAHIS-Wild. In that regard each Member Country is encouraged to appoint a National Focal Point for Wildlife with several responsibilities, including but not limited to:
1. to establish a network of wildlife experts within his/her country or to communicate with the existing network;
2. to establish and maintain a dialogue with the Competent Authority for wildlife in his/her country, and to facilitate cooperation and communication among several authorities where responsibility is shared;
3. under the authority of the OIE Delegate of his/her country, to support the optimal collection and submission of wildlife disease information to the OIE through WAHIS (immediate notifications and follow-up reports, six-monthly reports, and annual questionnaires) to enable the OIE Delegate to more efficiently manage his/her OIE Member obligation.
Specifically, there are approximately 50 non-OIE listed wildlife diseases of interest (http://www.oie.int/wahis_2/public/wahidwild.php/Diseaseinformation/popup/diseaselist) and the National Focal Point for Wildlife is responsible for providing information to the Member Country’s Delegate for submission of the annual voluntary report for wildlife to the OIE concerning any detections of these diseases. The national and international reporting of wildlife diseases is important to build situational awareness regarding wildlife disease and health, build national knowledge capacity, increase coordination among agencies, and integrate wildlife health into other surveillance frameworks. For more information please see the associated OIE infographic (© World Organisation for Animal Health [OIE]), and to report a detection of a wildlife disease of interest in the United States please contact the U.S. National Focal Point for Wildlife:
Dr. Jonathan Sleeman, Center Director
USGS, National Wildlife Health Center, Madison, WI 53711, Tel: (608) 270 2401; Email: jsleeman@usgs.gov

Please see the AAWV Member Forum for a PDF of the report (Anne Justice-Allen, AAWV Vice President)


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