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News Article

Roadmap to combat bovine and zoonotic tuberculosis


Publication articulates priority actions to address disease through a multidisciplinary One Health approach

The Roadmap for Zoonotic Tuberculosis was launched at the 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health, which took place in Guadalajara, Mexico, 11-14 October 2017. Four partners in health, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) have joined forces to develop the roadmap and address the major health and economic impact of this disease.

Bovine TB is most often transmitted to humans through food consumption, usually non-heat-treated dairy products or raw or improperly cooked meat from diseased animals. Direct transmission from infected animals or animal products to people can also occur.

"This multidisciplinary roadmap represents a milestone in the fight against TB in both people and animals," said Paula I Fujiwara, Scientific Director, The Union. "Better technologies, better science and better governance for affected communities bearing the bovine TB burden in poorer rural areas must become the new mantra if we are to get on the path to eliminating TB absolutely everywhere".

Zoonotic TB is largely hidden. The advanced laboratory tools are required to diagnose zoonotic TB are frequently unavailable. The disease is resistant to pyrazinamide - one of the standard first-line medications used to treat TB. Patients are therefore often misdiagnosed and may receive ineffective treatment.

"We must recognise the interdependence of the health of people and animals in the fight against TB. Specifically, bovine TB, caused by Mycobacterium bovis, affects cattle, threatens people's livelihoods and results in major economic and trade barriers, as well as posing a major risk to food safety and human health," said Berhe Tekola, Director of the FAO Animal Production and Health Division.

The roadmap articulates 10 priority actions that human and animal health actors should take, and defines milestones for the short- and medium-term:

IMPROVE THE EVIDENCE BASE

  • Systematically survey, collect, analyse and report better quality data on the incidence of zoonotic TB in people, and improve surveillance and reporting of bovine TB in livestock and wildlife.
  • Expand availability of appropriate diagnostic tools and capacity for testing to identify and characterize zoonotic TB in people.
  • Identify and address research gaps in zoonotic and bovine TB including epidemiology, diagnostic tools, vaccines, effective patient treatment regimens, health systems, and interventions coordinated with Veterinary Services.

 

REDUCE TRANSMISSION BETWEEN ANIMALS AND HUMANS

  • Develop strategies to improve food safety.
  • Develop capacity of the animal health sector to reduce the prevalence of TB in livestock.
  • Identify key populations and risks pathways for transmission of zoonotic TB.

 

STRENGTHEN INTERSECTORAL COLLABORATION

  • Increase awareness of zoonotic TB, engage key public and private stakeholders and establish effective intersectoral collaboration.
  • Develop and implement policies and guidelines for the prevention, surveillance, diagnosis, and treatment of zoonotic TB, in line with intergovernmental standards where relevant.
  • Identify opportunities for community-tailored interventions that jointly address human and animal health.
  • Develop an investment case to advocate for political commitment and funding to address zoonotic TB across sectors, at the global, regional and national levels.

 

Matthew Stone, OIE Deputy Director General, International Standards and Science, noted: "Preventing and controlling bovine TB at its animal source is crucial to avoid its transmission to humans, improve food safety and protect the livelihood of many rural communities. To this aim, the implementation of strategies based on international standards and a cross-sectorial approach will enable improved surveillance and diagnosis of the disease in animals and consequently reduce the risks for humans".

See: Roadmap for Zoonotic Tuberculosis

Article details

  • Date
  • 19 October 2017
  • Source
  • FAO
  • Subject(s)
  • Food Animals