June 4, 2010

In the Spotlight - OIE Working Group on Wildlife Diseases

Working Group on Wildlife Diseases
Informing and Advising OIE, the World Organization for Animal Health, on wildlife health issues

Founded in 1994, this Working Group informs and advises the OIE, World Organization for Animal Health, on all health problems relating to wild animals, whether in the wild or in captivity.

It has prepared recommendations and oversees numerous scientific publications on the surveillance and control of the most important specific wildlife diseases. The Working Group comprises world-leading scientific experts in their subject areas.

This group convenes yearly, and a useful by-product from these meetings are summary reports, dating back to 2001, which are available to download from their website. The most recent report was published in February 2010. You will find an excerpt below.

From the report section, Opening Remarks and Welcome:

Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General of the OIE, welcomed the participants and thanked them for their work. He emphasised that the OIE wishes to move quickly to improve surveillance and diagnostic tools for wildlife. Wildlife diseases are emerging as a priority for the OIE….

He also requested the strong commitment of the Working Group to developing a programme for the OIE Global Conference on Wild Animals, to be held in February 2011.

Dr Vallat highlighted the importance of focal points for wildlife to inform and advise the Members. Chief Veterinary Officers or Delegate on wildlife related matters.

A global network of 175 focal points from OIE Members is under construction and will be a key tool in the promotion of basic concepts in this field. The Working Group asked Dr Vallat if it was possible to discuss agreements with hunters' organisations (such as the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation based in Hungary) at the global level in order to have access to wildlife samples. Dr Vallat fully supported this request.

Topics Covered Include:
  • Newly Emerging Issues with Disease
  • Development of WAHIS and WAHIS-Wild systems for reporting wild animal disease occurrences
  • Draft Policy on Implications of Livestock Wildlife Interface
  • Matters of Interest for the WDWG from FAO
  • Request for guidance on avian influenza surveillance from OFFLU
  • Reports from the OIE Collaborating Centres engaged with wildlife
  • OIE Global Conference on Wildlife (February 2011)
  • Information on the ad hoc Group on Bee Diseases

Information source: The OIE Working Group on Wildlife Diseases website

What Other Essential Resources Should Every Wildlife Professional Know About?

Know of an invaluable resource (e.g. manual, website, online database) that every wildlife professional should be aware of? Send the title and a link (if available) of this indispensable resource to us at wdin@usgs.gov, and we will share it with your colleagues on the Digest.