Paris, France

The 81st OIE General Session : focus on CSF and PPR...

The 81st OIE World Assembly of Delegates was held in Paris between the 26th and the 31st of May 2013. The OIE had the honour of welcoming Her Royal Highness Princess Haya, OIE Goodwill Ambassador. Numerous Ministers of OIE Member Countries also honoured the Assembly with their presence at the Opening Ceremony which was held on Sunday May 26st at the Conference Centre of the Marriott Hotel ‘Rive Gauche’.

Speeches were delivered, amongst others, by 2 African line-Ministers, H.E. Saramady Touré from Guinea and H.E. Diané Mariam Koné from Mali. All the attending Ministers, from the 5 OIE regions highlighted the OIE PVS pathway in improving the activities of their Veterinary Services (Thailand, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Guinea, Mali, Kazakhstan, Peru, Serbia, Turkmenistan, and Nepal).
Over 800 participants, representing Member Countries of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and numerous international, intergovernmental, regional and national organisations (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Health Organization, World Bank, World Trade Organization, European Commission etc.) took part in the event.

The Representative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced an important contribution to support the strengthening of Veterinary Services worldwide.

Dr Moetapele Letshwenyo, former OIE Delegate for Botswana and current Deputy-Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Member of the OIE ad hoc group on official status recognition for FMD, was one of the two 2013 recipients of the OIE Medal of Merit, as appreciation for the ground breaking work he did on applied FMD zoning in Botswana, his contribution to the establishment of the OIE Sub-Regional Representation in Gaborone and his wealth of experience on FMD he shared within the ad hoc group.

The Gold Medal was awarded to the former President of the OIE Council (from 2009 until 2012), Dr Carlos Correa-Messuti.


During the OIE Regional Commission for Africa meeting on Monday May 21st, chaired by Dr Theogen Rutagwenda, Delegate of Rwanda, and Vice-President of the Commission, the Commission’s progress report of activities was presented, followed by the report by Dr. Yacouba Samaké, the OIE Regional Representative for Africa.

The Regional Commission for Africa, also elected a new Vice – President to replace the Vice – President and former Delegate of Chad. It is the OIE Delegate from Togo, Dr Komla Batasse Daniel Batawui. The meeting was attended by around 90 participants, including delegations from 38 African Member Countries.

In the margin of the General Session the Hon. Minister of Livestock and Fisheries of Mali, H.E. Diané Mariam Koné signed an agreement with the OIE on 28th of May, 2013 which updates the host country agreement with the OIE, signed in 2000The ceremony was attended by H.E. Boubacar Sidiki Touré, Ambassador from Mali to France.

During the consecutive sessions of the World Assembly of Delegates, the following amendments of the Aquatic Animal Health Code and Manual were discussed and approved : the definition of Aquatic Animal Health Services (AAHS) was revised to include the new definition of Aquatic Animal Health Professional (AAHP) in lieu of Veterinary Para-Professional (VPP). Several listed diseases were renamed in order to focus on the causative agent of the diseases (the infection), rather than the disease itself e.g. Epizootic Ulcerative Syndrome (EUS) in finfish was renamed “Infection with Aphanomyces invadans”. One new oyster infection was listed : infection with Ostreid Herpesvirus 1 microvariant, as well as one fish disease : infection with salmonid alpha-virus.

The revised chapter on Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA), after having been rejected in 2012, has been approved and now distinguishes the RHP0 (non-pathogenic) and RHP variants. The OIE Reference Laboratory for ISA at the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada, has been delisted as reference laboratory following investigations conducted by the relevant OIE specialised commissions.

The accreditation of the IQ 2000/WSSV diagnostic kit for White Spot of Shrimp Virus (WSSV) as fit for purpose was renewed, whilst a new kit, IQ Plus/WSSV was added to the list.

Due to diverging opinions between Member Countries as to the scientific evidence for stress, pain and/or distress in farmed fish, the proposed changes to the chapter on killing of farmed fish for disease control purposes were not adopted and referred to next year’s General Session.

This year, the World Assembly also adopted amendments to the Terrestrial Animal Health Code chapters on peste des petits ruminants (PPR) and classical swine fever (CSF) which list the conditions for official recognition by the OIE of a country free from these diseases (questionnaire). The list of official recognition by the OIE now includes AHS, BSE, CBPP, CSF, FMD and PPR.

Whilst additional amendments to the African Horse Sickness (AHS) chapter had to be put on hold until next year, the window for the submission of applications for recognition of historical absence of AHS to the Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases has been extended for another year. Although already 60 countries applied for this status, only Algeria and Tunisia were granted this status from the Africa region.

The OIE Delegates also continued their work in the field of antimicrobial resistance by updating an important chapter of the OIE Terrestrial Code on responsible and prudent use of antimicrobial agents in veterinary medicine (chapter 6.9). It provides guidance for the responsible and prudent use of antimicrobial agents in veterinary medicine, with the aim of protecting both animal and human health as well as the environment. It defines the respective responsabilities of the Competent Authority and stakeholders such as the veterinary pharmaceutical industry, veterinarians, animal feed manufacturers, distributors and food animal producers who are involved in the authorisation, production, control, importation, exportation, distribution and use of veterinary medicinal products (VMP) containing antimicrobial agent(s).

Several other changes to the Terrestrial Animal Health Code were discussed and approved. The main improvements are related to the adoption of a new chapter on “animal welfare and broiler chicken production systems”. This chapter covers the production period from arrival of the chicks on the farm to harvesting the broilers in commercial production systems. Such systems involve confinement of the birds, the application of biosecurity measures, and trade, regardless of scale, in the products of those birds. These recommendations cover broilers kept in cages, on slatted floors, litter or dirt and indoors or outdoors.

Proposals to de-list two vesicular diseases (swine vesicular disease, vesicular stomatitis) from the OIE list, based on the new criteria for listing of diseases were put on hold for another year (chapters 8.15 and 15.4.).

The amendment of chapter 8.10. enabled the introduction of a section on the control of rabies in dogs, the purpose of which is to encourage countries whose dog population is currently infected with rabies to implement a structured control strategy with a view to achieve eventual eradication of canine rabies (article 8.10.1bis).

In order to clarify which strains of avian influenza are covered by the Code and to bring the chapter in line with other chapters, the previous prefix ‘notifiable’ has been removed as the definition now clearly includes infection with highly pathogenic type A avian influenza viruses in birds (in general) and all low pathogenicity type A avian influenza viruses in poultry (subtypes H5 and H7).

The Biological Standards Commission successfully recommended that the Pan-African Veterinary Vaccine Centre (PANVAC) be accredited as a new OIE Collaborating Centre for Quality Control of Veterinary Vaccines with Dr. Karim Tounkara as the designated contact point. PANVAC is based in Debre-Zeit, Ethiopia. Overall, 11 new Reference Centres were accredited.

No new diagnostic tests were certified as appropriate to the objectives of the Terrestrial Manual as “fit for purpose”, but two tests (for avian influenza and for BSE) received renewed accreditation after a first 5-year accreditation.

All pictures © D. Mordzinski (oie) 2013

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