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Specificity of animal health in the tropics : internationally important infectious diseases of Africa

Inra Prod.Anim., 24 (1), 65-76

N. Mandonnet¹, E. Tillard²,³,⁴, B. Faye²,³,⁴, A. Collin⁵, J.-L. Gourdine¹, M. Naves¹, D. Bastianelli²,³,⁴, M. Tixier-Boichard⁶,⁷, D. Renaudeau¹

CIRAD, Contrôle des maladies animales exotiques et émergentes, Campus International de Baillarguet, F-34398 Montpellier, France 2 INRA, UMR1309, Contrôle des maladies animales exotiques et émergentes, Campus International de Baillarguet, F-34398 Montpellier, France 3 INRA, Département Santé Animale, F-37380 Nouzilly, France 4 INRA,Unité d’épidémiologie animale, F-63122 Saint-Genès-Champanelle, France

Specific features of animal health in Africa are related to the diversity of climatic and environmental conditions, the predominance of low-input livestock farming systems, the intensity of long-distance animal movements (transhumance, trade), and difficult socio-economic conditions leading to poorly-funded veterinary services. Livestock farming systems and animal movements enhance the spreading of directly-transmitted diseases such as contagious bovine pleuropneumonia or peste des petits ruminants. Environmental conditions determine the biology of vectors (insects or ticks) and the spreading of vector-borne diseases. Some of them are specific to Africa, like human and animal trypanosomoses transmitted by tsetse flies. Others, like Rift Valley fever (RVF), transmitted by many mosquito species, are emerging. Should the RVF virus be introduced in favourable ecosystems (e.g., through livestock trade), RVF may install in other continents than Africa, like it has already been the case for the Arabic peninsula. The poor socio-economic conditions met in Africa make it more vulnerable than others to emerging or re-emerging animal diseases consecutive to climatic and environmental changes, increasing demography, and more intense travels and international trade. To obtain a substantial improvement of this situation, a regional disease-control strategy must be defined and implemented, with a continental and international coordination. This strategy should rely on integrated disease control with feed-back from national and regional disease surveillance networks, and more efficient tools and methods provided by research partners.

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