March 2005 Latest amendment on
Global crisis of communicable animal diseases’ monitoring and surveillance: less information on their real occurrence status than before computer era = facilitating infection/pathogen long-distance spreading through international trade
Formerly: Animal Health Officer (Veterinary Intelligence), Senior Officer (Veterinary Services) and Chief, Animal Health Service, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Editor-in-Chief, FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbook; Informatics Expert, OIE; Czechoslovak Chief Epizootiologist; Professor of Epizootiology, Brno University of Veterinary Science;
Table of Contents
2. General principles of epizootiological monitoring and surveillance
3. Short history of global animal health/disease information system
4. Serious gaps in the list of internationally reportable diseases
5. Serious gaps in operational reporting of communicable disease cases
6. OIE deliberate extreme reduction of regular reporting on animal disease occurrence in exporting countries
7. OIE deliberate abolition of regular reporting on animal disease import cases avoiding the analysis of disease spread through international trade
8. Zero or minimal knowledge on animal diseases’ occurrence in exporting countries
9. Zero or minimal reliable data for objective disease situation analysis and import risk assessment
10. Zero or minimal information on the frequency and types of disease investigations in exporting countries
11. OIE abolition of software facilitating analyses of animal health/disease situation for international trade
12. New OIE system WAHID provides much less of useful professional information on animal infection occurrence than before computer era
13. New OIE World Animal Health yearbooks provide much less of useful professional information on animal infection occurrence than before computer era
1.1 For any effective preventive and control animal health programmes as well as for innocuous trade in animals and animal products there is necessary to have available reliable data on disease’s occurrence, control methods and influencing factors. The same is valid for international programmes and trade. The collection, collation and publication of national disease occurrence data at global level started in 1957 by the FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbook Information System under the responsibility of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
1.2 From 1996 the collection and publication of these data has been the responsibility of the OIE only, i.e. outside of the United Nations. The OIE assisted by the FAO unfortunately abolished previous satisfactory global animal health information system as follow-up of the WTO/SPS to “facilitate trade” at the expense of importing countries’ animal and human health. Instead to provide more and in more details information the “new” system has been providing less information on internationally reportable diseases than before and thus contributes to disease globalization. Instead to facilitate international trade through significantly improving sanitary quality in exporting countries and better information of importing countries, the WTO and OIE started facilitating the trade in animals and animal products through reducing sanitary requirements and global information system.
1.3 Actual global animal disease monitoring and surveillance do not reflect the epizootiological reality as it would be required for effective international preventive and control measures. The knowledge of global epizootiological situation is absolutely not sufficient and is becoming worse and worse thanks also to “new” policy of the OIE working for the WTO instead for the protection of animal health in its member countries. Global crisis of communicable diseases’ monitoring and surveillance facilitating disease spreading through international trade represents, together with the crisis of public veterinary service, important components of global preventive veterinary medicine crisis deepening every day. The tragedy is that international inter-governmental organizations responsible for global animal health protection are obviously not interested in “recovery” actions. Unfortunately, similar approach can be found at global non-governmental organizations in veterinary medicine (including International Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics of the World Veterinary Association).
1.4 There is significant difference between global animal health/disease information system and the other ones. The first is used firstly for operational purposes (e.g. emergency anti-epizootic actions and for the decisions on animal and animal products import conditions) and the latter ones for post factum statistical analyses only. Therefore, the animal health information system must provide data the most precise, complete and reliable without any delay. Unfortunately, the actual OIE information system is neither precise, nor complete and nor reliable!
1.5 The presented text is based on critical analysis of actual regular OIE animal health information system represented namely by the World Animal Health yearbook and HANDISTATUS II software. The text was amended by commenting the OIE World Animal Health Information Database (WAHID) as a component of new OIE World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS) introduced in 2006.
The term “healthy animals” used in the text means “animals free of communicable disease pathogens” , i.e. epizootiologically healthy (not only clinically healthy).
2. General principles of epizootiological monitoring and surveillance
a) Epizootiological situation and its development as well as the influencing factors are subjects of monitoring and surveillance in order to obtain and maintain the knowledge about the situation and to apply corresponding actions in time. Both types are interrelated.
b) Epizootiological monitoring and surveillance representing particular systems based on investigation, information and analysis activities are described in the “TEXTBOOK – Epizootiology Principle and Methods” included in the same website (http://vaclavkouba.byl.cz/textbook.htm).
2.2 Epizootiological monitoring
a) Monitoring means to collect, process and use of ad hoc information and investigation results obtained during the current veterinary services activities to assess the specific health and diseases status.
b) Monitoring consists in operative investigations to decide immediately about epizootiological measures, usually at local level or to prepare further steps for the analysis and eventual animal health programme.
c) Monitoring involves regular (routine) or irregular veterinary inspections in the field and slaughterhouses, laboratory investigations, veterinary control in the disease foci, in quarantines, etc.
d) Monitoring not always is followed by concrete actions if the disease is not of actual importance or has not necessary priority in epizootiological strategy.
e) Initial monitoring represents the first phase of epizootiological activities before starting active screening and animal health programmes. It consists in obtaining the first information on specific disease occurrence in the territory if the disease exists or not and in positive case what is its approximate distribution and consequences. Initial monitoring has different forms where the first investigations and ad hoc findings are complemented by the first active "probes" to achieve better knowledge about the "new" problem.
f) In the majority of known diseases initial monitoring represents still the only specific activity due to the fact that there are not yet the conditions for starting complex and effective programmes for their reduction, elimination and eradication.
g) Follow-up monitoring means the observation over a period of a group, or initially defined population whose appropriate characteristics have been assessed to observe changes in health status or health-related variables.
2.3 Epizootiological surveillance
a) Epizootiological surveillance is a continuous process of observing, investigating, analysing, evaluating and examining carefully and constantly all development and pertinent alterations of the epizootiological situation and factors influencing it. The purpose is to predict and detect in time (i.e. at the onset) dangerous epizootic threatening to worsen a given situation, to determine the state of epizootiological emergency, and to immediately alert the services and organizations involved.
b) Surveillance particularly attempts to predict and detect, measure and evaluate changes or trends for the worse in the behaviour of problem diseases, detect and assess unexpected risks and determine critical moments and places.
c) Surveillance mainly scrutinizes quantitative changes for worse of selected phenomena which have reached a critical point, producing a qualitative change for the worse, i.e. deteriorating of epizootiological situation. In essence, it is a scrutinizing of certain events that is used to detect a change in animal health/disease trend or distribution to modify investigative or control measures and to identify promptly any emerging disease syndromes which would require immediate response from a veterinary or a public health services.
d) Surveillance makes possible timely preparation, application and eventual modification of epizootiological strategy, programmes and measures. Surveillance provides the fundamental basis for epizootiological prognoses and continuous upgrading of specific activities for a swift appropriate reaction to changes in the animal population health situation.
e) Surveillance provides information required to meet international reporting need and to support declarations of disease status for trading purposes particularly if exotic diseases involved.
f) Surveillance can be general, covering the full etiological spectrum or specific, covering particular etiological aspects, i.e. specific animal health or disease processes.
As a rule, epizootiological surveillance focuses on a limited number of carefully selected diseases such as the exotic ones, the most dangerous ones and those under intensive reduction, elimination or eradication programme, i.e. diseases having a major economic and public health impact.
g) Calling attention for the new situation and threatening risks (particularly the appearance, suspicion and possible outbreak of an exotic disease) represents a major step forward in prediction and prevention.
h) Early warning system is a specific procedure to detect as early as possible any worsening departure from usual or normally observed frequency of dangerous animal health/disease phenomena. The warning system for health hazards for people, animals, environment can include also chemical contaminants.
i) Surveillance is a continuous process which depends on scientific developments and field experience. On the other hand, it influences the theory and practice through new finding and results as well as its demand for new methods and supply of new ideas.
2.4 Among the objects of international monitoring and surveillance belong also the major changes for the worse in international trade policy (such as in the OIE Code) and in international animals disease information system, sudden debilitation of public service capacities mainly in exporting countries, etc. having negative influence on international animal population health situation.
2.5 More information see on the same website under “TEXTBOOK – Epizootiology Principle and Methods”, chapter 19 (Epizootiological information system) and chapter 21 (Epizootiological monitoring and surveillance).
Note: How many authors so many definitions of the surveillance and monitoring.
“Surveillance – all regular activities aimed
at ascertaining the health status of a given population with the aim of early
detection and control of animal diseases of importance to national economies,
food security and trade.” “Monitoring – all activities at detecting changes in
the epidemiological parameters of a special disease.” “…the distinction between the two often becomes blurred.” in: Manual on livestock disease surveillance and
information systems, FAO Animal Health Manual, 8,
”Surveillance of disease is the continuing scrutiny of all aspects of occurrence and spread of a disease that are pertinent to effective control. Included are the systematic collection and evaluation of: morbidity and mortality reports; special reports of field investigations of epidemics and of individual cases; isolation and identification of infectious agents by laboratories; data concerning the availability; use and effects of vaccines and toxoids, immune globulins, insecticides and other substances used in control; information regarding immunity levels in segment of the population and other relevant epidemiological data. A report summarizing the above data should be prepared and distributed to all cooperating persons and others with a need to know the results of the surveillance activities. The procedure applies to all jurisdictional levels of public health from local to international. Serological surveillance identifies patterns of current and past infection using serological tests.” In: James Chin (Editor) “Control of Communicable Disease Manual”, American Public Health Association, 17th edition, 2000, p. 577.
“Surveillance: Continuous analysis, interpretation, and feedback of systematically collected data, generally using methods distinguished by their practicality, uniformity, and rapidity rather than by accuracy or completeness. By observing trends in time, place, and persons, changes can be observed or anticipated and appropriate action, including investigative or control measures, can be taken. Sources of data may relate directly to disease or factor influencing disease.” In John M. Last (Editor) “A Dictionary of Epidemiology”, Oxford University Press, 1995, p.163.
3. Short history of global animal health/disease information system
3.1 The backbone of the United Nations global animal health information system was three language FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbook Programme founded by Dr H.O. Konigshofer in 1956 as an integral component of the FAO global information system. It was providing official information from individual countries on animal diseases which were of international interest due to their socio-economic and public health consequences and importance for both international and domestic trade. The data were collected using a particular questionnaire sent every autumn by Director General, FAO to all the member country governments and to FAO Representatives and by Chief, Animal Health Service, FAO to all Chief Veterinary Officers in the world together with necessary instructions.
Deadlines: sending filled out yearbook questionnaires to FAO HQs, Rome by the end of February; editorial manual processing (including about one thousand three language explanatory notes) and sending final version for printing factory in Napoli by the end of May following by the distribution at the beginning of July. There were produced up to 6500 copies every year. The majority was distributed free of charge to all: FAO, WHO and OIE member country governments, Chief Veterinary Officers, veterinary faculties, FAO and WHO animal health reference laboratories and collaborating centres, institutions of major international importance and selected international specialists. The rest was left for FAO Distribution and Sales Section.
3.2 The Chief-Editors of the FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbook being also responsible officers for FAO-UN global animal health information system and surveillance were as follows: Drs H. Konigshofer (Switzerland) during 1958-1977, V. Kouba (Czechoslovakia) during 1978-1984 and 1988, M. Bellver-Gallent (Spain) during 1985-1986 and 1990, L. Velloso (Brazil) in 1988, P. Finelle (France) in 1989 and Dr V.R. Welte (Brazil) during 1991-1995.
3.3 FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbook Programme belongs today only to the history. In 1996 after four decades of servicing satisfactorily to all the countries in the world, the yearbook disappeared due to not-easy-understandable reasons, i.e. without any scientific, logical and practical justification and without any corresponding replacement or improvement. Information on FAO animal health activities were modified and transferred to Internet pages. Global animal health regular annual information system was left only with the OIE “World Animal Health“ yearbook from 1985. OIE has been publishing also monthly the “Bulletin de l’Office international des epizooties” as well as “Disease information”, a weekly publication created in 1988 ; the contents have been disseminated via the OIE website since 1996.
The standards for diagnostic
tests are of particular importance for international surveillance. First
complete edition in English of the “OIE Manual of Standards for Diagnostic
Tests and Vaccine” was published in 1989. This very useful publication was the
“baby” of Dr L. Blajan (
3.4 In 1981 was created OIE Working Group on Informatics and
Epidemiology (including also representatives of the FAO and WHO) which was later
until 1994 known as the Working Group on Animal Health Information Systems. It
was chaired by Dr P.M. Acha (
From 1995 the Chairmen were Dr
L.J. King (
*) Report on the meeting of the OIE Working Group on Informatics and Epidemiology, Paris, 1-4 October 1996: Proposed changes to the 1997 FAO/OIE/WHO Animal Health Questionnaire, ad 3) “The code for reporting disease occurrence will be simplified as follows: The codes for positive occurrence: + Reported or known to occur; +? Serological evidence and/or isolation of causative agent, no clinical disease”.
Dr Jean Blancou, Director General, OIE sent the author a letter dated 30 October 1998 explicating that it was: "the result of discussions by eminent specialists on risk analysis… to can standardize risk assessment”. (From "+" ?). How can be standardized communicable disease introduction risk assessment when every case is different? How can be standardized the risk of non quantifiable biological phenomena? How the risk can be standardized from one “+” ? How the risk can be standardized when the “+” according to so called “specialists” can mean one exceptional case in imported animal as well as millions of cases ? Every primitive is able to distinguish that these situations and risks are not the same. Because the “eminent specialists” were not primitive, therefore the information reduction was made consciously and deliberately to “facilitate trade” admitting to export non-healthy animals and non-pathogen-free animal products from major exporting countries being not able to control animal disease situation and to export diseases/pathogens-free commodities. Therefore, also these “specialists” (some of them obviously had been involved in the preparation of the antisanitary WTO/SPS) share the responsibility for the criminal spreading and irreparable globalization of animal diseases. Other secondary consequences consist in dismantelling of government veterinary services, minimizing up to stopping active surveys and diseases’ control and eradication measures in exporting countries “saving” money and other resources related with animal export.
The above mentioned trick represents only one of the OIE actions following the WTO/SPS explicitly requiring from the importing countries the risk assessment in case of not accepting, due to the lack of sanitary guarantee, the offered animal commodities by the exporting countries. *) Fair trade principles such as the freedom to decide on the import conditions is now exceptionally not valid only for animal trade ! This nonsense, the common work of the WTO and the OIE, with catastrophic consequences has been unknown even in the whole human history !
*) WTO/SPS, Article 5 “Assessment of Risk and Determination of the Appropriate Level of Sanitary or Phytosanitary Protection”: 1. Members shall ensure that their sanitary or phytosanitary measures are based on an assessment, as appropriate to the circumstances, of the risk to human, animal or plant life or health, taking into account risk assessment techniques developed by the relevant international organizations.”
*) More information on this subject see in the chapters 6 and 7.
The mentioned Working Group, after fulfilling its dirty “job”, disappeared during the nineties similarly as the official OIE Informatics Experts. The previous effective collaboration of all three intergovernmental organizations involved in animal health – FAO-WHO-OIE was stopped as well. The OIE immediately after the WTO/SPS usurped global animal health information system and therefore it is fully responsible for its consequences.
From that time the significantly reduced and deformed global animal health information or better no-information system on diseases’ occurrence has been applied up to day (i.e. also in the “new” WAHID).
3.5 The OIE launched in April, 2006 so called “World Animal Health Information Database” (WAHID) which is gradually replacing the HANDISTATUS II compiling data from 1996 to 2004. The new system applies only more modern form of data computerization, but the professional contents on diseases occurrence is not improved, i.e. it is practically the same based on the non-informative symbol “+” not reflecting at all epizootiological reality and characteristics. More comments in the chapter 11. This new system represents a global irresponsible experiment without previous testing how far it will be useful and feasible for member country governments’ decisions on anti-epizootic actions, namely on veterinary conditions for the import of animals and their products to avoid the risk of diseases/pathogen introduction.
3.6 The OIE was unable to prepare in time the new HANDISTAT II (three year gap !) containing deliberately much less information on diseases’ occurrence in the member countries than two decades ago; to “facilitate trade” ? The OIE World Animal Health yearbook suffers by extraordinary delay: data on previous year are available not until the end of the actual year.
The FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbooks having much more information on diseases’ occurrence than all OIE “new” computerized systems and were being issued already at the beginning of next July in spite of being processed manually.
The OIE World Animal Health yearbook with data on animal disease situation in 2005 were not yet available, even at CVO HQs, at the beginning of 2008 !!! (latest available WAH yearbook contains data from 2004 !). What this kind of information (or better no-information) serves for ? For “facilitating” international trade through blinding importing countries to be unable to identify correctly the necessary import conditions ! This kind of information mess is absolutely unknown in any other intergovernmental organization !
3.7 No one of the “new” OIE global animal health information systems has been based on logical analyses of the member country governments’ needs. These systems have not been targeted at particular objectives and priorities for anti-epizootic decision-making at national (i.e. government) level, on the other hand they have been overloaded by a mishmash of less or no important data. All these systems have been lacking clear cut definitions of the indicators describing epizootiological characteristics. These systems have not been combining and differentiating incidence and prevalence (not used at all by the OIE system even in chronic mass spread diseases !?) for animal disease occurrence characterization (any student of any veterinary university must know the absolute difference of importance between new cases during a given period and the situation at the end of a given period). The use of numeric data on disease new cases is absolutely confusing the user due to representing only ad hoc reported new cases and not the incidence reality which is usually many times higher. Example see in the paragraph 8.2..
For decision making on import conditions it must be available also information on disease prevalence (at the end of the latest reporting period). The number of ad hoc reported new cases can be minimal or even zero but the disease can be widely spread up to ubiquitous prevalence. Or the number of ad hoc reported new cases can be high however, at the end of the period the prevalence can be zero (e.g. after disease eradication).
It is obvious that the OIE responsible officers have not good idea about member country governments` information priority needs and about the principles of effective helpful international information system. Or this case represents one of the OIE tricks how to facilitate trade confusing importing countries minimizing information on exporting country epizootiological situation.
3.8 More information see on the same website in „History of global animal health information system of the United Nations.“ (http://vaclavkouba.byl.cz/UNinformatics.htm).
4. Serious gaps in the list of internationally reportable diseases
4.1 Up to 1995 there were following lists of animal diseases internationally reportable: 15 diseases of the List A, 80 diseases of the List B and 32 diseases of the List C, i.e. all together 127 diseases. Additionally there were collected and published data on 23 zoonoses occurrence in human population.
“List A means the List of transmissible diseases which have the potential for very serious and rapid spread, irrespective of national borders, which are of serious socio-economic or public health consequences and which are of major importance for the international trade of animals and animals products.
List B means the List of transmissible diseases which are considered to be of socio-economic and/or public health importance within countries and which are significant in the international trade of animals and animal products.”
4.2 The OIE, after taking over global animal health information system in 1996, following components eliminated without any adequate analysis, testing, scientific justification, convincing assessment of the consequences as far particular disease spread risk was concerned and without any replacement:
a) diseases of the List C
List C included following diseases: Multiple species diseases: listeriosis, toxoplasmosis, melioidosis, blackleg , botulism, other clostridial infections, other pasteurelloses, actinomycosis, intestinal Salmonella infections, coccidiosis, distomatosis (liver fluke) and filariasis. Cattle diseases: mucosal disease/bovine virus diarrhoea, vibrionic dysentery and warble infestation. Sheep and goat diseases: contagious pustular dermatitis, foot-rot, contagious ophthalmia, enterotoxaemia, caseous lymphadenitis and sheep mange. Horse diseases: equine coital exanthema, ulcerative lymphangitis, strangles and salmonellosis (S. abortus equi). Pig diseases: swine erysipelas. Poultry diseases: infectious coryza, avian encephalomyelitis, avian spirochaetosis, avian salmonellosis (excluding fowl typhoid and pullorum disease) and avian leukosis. Dog and cat diseases: Canine distemper.
b) zoonoses occurrence in human population *)
Rift Valley fever, anthrax, echinococcosis-hydatidosis, leptospirosis, Q fever, rabies, screwworm (Cochliomyia hominivorax), bovine tuberculosis, bovine cysticercosis, glanders, Japanese encephalitis, Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis, porcine cysticercosis, trichinellosis, avian chlamydiosis, tularaemia, leishmaniosis, listeriosis, toxoplasmosis, swine erysipelas, brucellosis and salmonella infections.
OIE later included, after my intervention, the diseases of the List C into its website only but not in the World Animal Health yearbooks. Diseases of the List C are not included even in the “OIE Manual of Standards for Diagnostic Tests and Vaccine”. Reporting on zoonotic diseases in human population have not been restored. The OIE is obviously not interested in the control of many important diseases which could complicate more the export when importing countries will require healthy animals and pathogen-free animal products.
*) Due to the fact that the World Health Organization did not monitor and disseminate information on zoonoses cases in human populations, it was officially agreed between WHO and FAO that the programme of FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbook would collect and publish this type of data dealing with human health. In 1988 so called “FAO/WHO Experimental Table – Cases of animal diseases (zoonoses) in human population (as officially reported to Ministry of Health)” was introduced. This required Chief Veterinary Officers to contact national Ministry of Health and collect relevant data to include them in the annual questionnaire for the FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbook to be sent to FAO HQs. The table was called deliberately “experimental” to avoid critical questions why the global animal health information system was collecting and publishing data on human zoonoses cases. Unfortunately, this extremely important table disappeared together with the FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbook in 1996 without being replaced in following OIE global animal health information system.
4.3 OIE abolished also regular annual reporting system on the most important animal disease – foot-and-mouth disease - according to its types: FMD A, FMD O, FAD C , FMD Asia 1, FMD SAT 1, FMD SAT 2 and FMD SAT 3. Country reporting on each FMD type was before subdivided into six animal species (bov, buf, ovi, cap, sui, others) and on FMD occurrence when the type was not identified. OIE stopped requiring these 49 data on FMD occurrence as it was normal during past decades. If we consider also the abolition of previous disease occurrence epizootiological graduation (see chapter 6), what was offering for each type and animal species more useful information, then the number of required FMD annual data was reduced from about one hundred to one only of very simple information !
4.4 Simultaneously with the disappearing of the mentioned diseases from global annual information documents, the OIE abolished excellent information software HandiSTATUS (see part 11). It is obvious that the member countries have been getting less information than before ! Less information on diseases’ occurrence objectively has been favourable to the exporting countries “facilitating disease export” in line of the “new” OIE policy.
4.5 Author’s several protests and proposals for global information system improvement sent, as former Editor-in-Chief, FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbook, to Director Generals, OIE (Dr J. Blancou and Dr B. Vallat) and to the Head, Information Department, OIE (Dr T. Chillaud) were left without any corrective action. Even to correct professional nonsense did not merit any attention by “responsible” officers.
In OIE World Animal Health “Index of diseases” can be found absolute professional nonsense: „Klobouk’s disease – see Rinderpest“ instead of „Klobouk’s disease – see Enterovirus encephalomyelitis“. The author has been writing almost every year from 1997 to DG OIE asking to correct this absurdity, however without any attention to this logical suggestion. Similar fate have had all author’s several letters commenting that in OIE disease lists the term Brucella melitensis as scientific etiological entity has been missing. In spite to keep current term "Brucella melitensis infection" avoiding mixing it with B. abortus and B. suis, it was introduced by so called “OIE experts” a confusing definition "Caprine and ovine brucellosis (excluding B. ovis)" not respecting international scientific etiological terminology.
4.6 Similar fate suffered author’s proposal to add in the list of internationally reportable diseases other very important ones such as zoonotic salmonellosis in mammals, plague, Ebola virus disease etc. Affected exporting countries are no happy to include in global monitoring the diseases which are not well controlled and which could complicate the trade.
As far as the refusal to include the plague is concern, one of the explanation can provide following text: “Enzootic North American foci, the largest in the world, are primarily found in the western and southwestern USA (New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Wyoming), with plague-infected animals detected as far north as Alberta and British Columbia in Canada, and as far south as the state of Coahuila in Mexico.” In R. Higgings: “Emerging and re-emerging bacterial zoonotic diseases: bartonellosis, leptospirosis, Lyme borreliosis, plague”. Rev. sci. tech. Off. Int. Epiz., 2004,23 (2), page 576.
4.7 As the consequences of the OIE indifference to zoonotic salmonellosis in mammals and very benevolent import conditions for poultry salmonelloses (admitting export of affected poultry and missing conditions for poultry meat export *) caused global underestimation of monitoring and surveillance of these extraordinary important zoonoses. Very bad example of the OIE policy has conduced to the absence of zoonotic salmonelloses occurrence data, preventive and control measures, investigations of the agents respecting the cycle which commences at the farm herd levels. Abattoir inspection (HACCP system) cannot filtrate the products (meat) infected by salmonellas and therefore they can be freely propagated through national and international trade. Rapid distribution of imported meat makes impossible postimport bacteriological investigation (preimport bacteriological investigations is not carried out as well). Results: zoonotic salmonellosis are being spread massively around the world without any effective specific anti-epizootic actions.
*) See on the same website in “Critical analysis of animal health code for international trade” – chapter 2.10.2, article 184.108.40.206 and section 3.8.
4.8 Zoonotic salmonelloses “forgotten” in the OIE information system and OIE Code for international trade represent the best example of mass spreading – globalization of diseases without any international anti-epizootic action. This kind of deliberately “facilitating trade”, thanks to very easy meat export without necessary control of these diseases, is very favourable to major meat exporting countries and very harmful to meat importing countries, in particular to developing ones not having conditions for postimport bacteriological control. According to antisanitary WTO/SPS and OIE Code the importing country, in case to require salmonella-free products, e.g. poultry, pigs or cattle meat, should elaborate and present to exporting country scientific justified and convincing risk assessment documents following the absurd methodology of the OIE Code. What a nonsense !
4.9 From the DG OIE Editorials, April 2004: “The OIE paves the way for a new animal disease notification system. Resolution passed by the International Committee and recommendations issued by the Regional Commissions have instructed the OIE Central Bureau to establish a single OIE list of notifiable terrestrial animal diseases to replace the current Lists A and B. The aim is drawing up a single list is to be in line with the terminology of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement (SPS) of the World Trade Organization, by classifying diseases as specific hazard and giving listed diseases the same degree of importance in international trade.” This is further illustration of the OIE subordination to the WTO. The terminology related to animal diseases should be in compliance with veterinary terminology, science and needs instead of business terminology. This is other nonsense giving different diseases the same degree of importance for international trade. The real intention is obviously the revision of the diseases’ list to fit better to major exporting countries, i.e. to reduce significantly the number of reportable diseases and thus to facilitate even more the pathogen export through international trade than today. We can expect new trickery not including among the hazards the majority of animal diseases and thus to open the space for their spreading in importing countries. It is difficult to accept that importing countries would agree with diseases’ introduction. However, these countries are too weak to resist further swindle of OIE dominating by major profiting exporting countries.
As follow-up the Terrestrial Animal Health Code 2004 as a “novelty” abolished
traditional logical disease classification according to their importance mixing
killing diseases (previous List A) with diseases of lower importance (previous List B). The
problem is not to concentrate the diseases according to individual animal
species, the problem is to avoid the ordination according disease importance.
The reason was to create deliberately the impression that the most dangerous
diseases are not so dangerous to facilitate animal export. This tricky change
is favourable only to exporting countries unable to eradicate some List A
diseases and to can export the animals and their products without a need to
eradicate these diseases ( as the blatant example can be mentioned African
swine fever introduced in 1978 in
Example: The most important disease – foot-and-mouth disease – was always listed as the first one. Now it is located in 10th place among 16 multiple species diseases. The most dangerous disease in pigs – African swine fever is located in 6th place among seven swine diseases (OIE Code 2006).
“novelty” consists in elimination of paratuberculosis (chapter
empty page; it’s never happened) opening its export from countries
unable to control it. This step was preceded by Ministry of Agriculture of New
Zealand *) abolishing paratuberculosis as notifiable disease in 2000 and declaring it as “non hazard” in 2004 and by
its officer S.C.MacDiarmid becoming the same year Secretary-General of OIE Code
Commission. The change was not scientifically justified and without any assessment of consequences in importing
countries and even against the opinion of
4.12 There is a serious contradiction regarding the paratuberculosis. OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code in 2004 eliminated paratuberculosis as no important for international trade and the same year in the Rev. Sci. tech. Off. Int. Epiz., Vol. 23 (2), page 694 is stressed increasing importance of paratuberculosis in connection with re-emerging diseases. ! ?
4.13 Eliminating the paratuberculosis from the OIE Code means its easier export without regard to its spread into importing countries unable to avoid it, as before, when referring to the OIE Code.
Examples: Among the major
exporting countries without having the paratuberculosis as notifiable disease belong
according to the World Animal Health in 2003:
Recent mass import of the
4.14 The above mentioned case of the paratuberculosis symbolizes the concept and tendency of WTO and OIE to reduce sanitary quality requirements for exporting countries through the OIE Code and through limiting up to avoiding information of importing countries on particular diseases. Instead of improving sanitary situation in exporting countries through effective control and eradication programmes there is being imposing the strategy close to “doing nothing” thanks to minimizing quality requirements and reporting. What a difference in comparison with all other trade commodities where the basic policy is to reach the best possible quality of traded goods and the maximum possible information of the importing sides!
This case demonstrates once more how is the OIE policy developing and confirms the decisive role of major exporting countries and their “experts” in leading OIE posts. This case demonstrates the absence of neutrality and democratic principles as well as the absence of respecting the interests of all other member country governments.
4.15 Above mentioned antisanitary OIE “novelty” indicates the intention of the OIE to reduce the number of reportable diseases through elimination of those complicating export of major exporting countries unable to guarantee healthy animals and pathogen-free products. The result will be monitoring of less diseases than in the past instead of providing more information as it was before WTO/SPS and on more diseases. That time, even without computers, the countries were providing and receiving much better and more information on disease situation in the world ! The countries were accustomed to report required detailed data (as epizootiological estimates based on professional analysis of all available relevant data) on disease occurrence without any difficulty. The OIE has proved once again that it is not more animal population health protection organization.
4.16 In the document “Emerging zoonoses and pathogens of public health concern”, Rev. Sci. tech. Off. Int. Epiz., Vol. 23 (2), 2004 there are several important zoonoses which are not included in the OIE global information system: Ebola virosis, Nipah virosis, sever acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), infection of Escherichia coli strain O157:H7, Hanta virosis, Hendra virosis, monkeypox, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, bartonellosis, ehrlichiosis, Lyme borreliosis, plague etc..
4.17 Disease: non-notifiable = no information = no investigations = no control = no eradication = no health guarantee = free export of the disease = “happy” profiting exporting country = “unhappy” suffering importing country getting new problems usually difficult to solve even if the eradication is feasible, what is usually unreal.
5. Serious gaps in operational reporting of communicable disease cases
5.1 Operational information on selected communicable diseases, mainly from the List A diseases, available on OIE Internet pages represents the continuation of previous useful advising member countries through telegram. The OIE established uniform reporting structure using computer on-line methods. The operational data have proved to be welcome by the users.
5.2 The problem is that not all emergency cases of international importance are reported to OIE HQs to can be immediately disseminated through the OIE Internet. Often is reported only the first case and not the follow-up cases and development. Sometimes, the data are incomplete.
5.3 Particular difficulties represent the results of epizootiological analysis identifying the source and way of specific pathogen introduction and of further spread. They are very often not discovered making difficult to trace previous and following outbreaks to can effectively control the relevant disease.
5.4 In the cases of detecting imported pathogens the operational reports usually absence of pointing at the country which exported the particular disease (not to offend it ?) and thus other countries importing from the same exporting one are not alerted in time to apply necessary protective measures.
5.5 No international organization has published and trained practical methodology for tracing the way of disease introduction and thus to help animal population health protection against disease import. Similar is the approach underestimating this phenomenon extremely important for analyzing disease spreading through international trade and for avoiding globalization of animal diseases.
5.6 Decisive role in operational reporting of new cases of notifiable disease, in particular emerging new ones, have the veterinarians of field, slaughterhouse and laboratory services who usually are the first in contact with above mentioned communicable diseases. Unfortunately very often these veterinarians are not well prepared to be able to identify in time the suspicion if not the diagnosis. Private veterinarians have usually only the chance ad hoc to detect the first cases during their daily work while government veterinarians are mostly in offices. Active survey to discover epizootiological reality is organized only exceptionally (lack of legislation, staff, material, money and diagnostic facilities, fear of detecting disease “complicating the life“ of animal owners, veterinarians, traders, exporters and authorities at local up to national levels). Other reason is that cheapest (free-of-charge) survey is no-survey. Overwhelming majority of veterinarians have not been properly educated and trained for this kind of very demanding field work. Staff of so called “epidemiology units” at managerial levels is very often trained only for data processing and theoretical modelling of risk assessment using the comupters and not for practical investigations of epizootiological situation and for anti-epizootic field measures. Usually new emerging diseases, re-emerging diseases and imported diseases are detected too late which is reflected not only in following difficulties to control the disease but also in late reporting to relevant international organizations and worldwide.
5.7 Other serious problem of international reporting is the fact that in very few countries are notifiable all the diseases of the OIE information system. The obvious reason is that not all these diseases are for individual countries of the same importance and that national legal documents imposing citizen duties tend towards the most concise text as possible. It is logical that numeric data on diseases outside of the official duty to report are not available at central veterinary administration and cannot be submitted to the OIE. However, the major exporting countries are expected to have full coverage of internationally reportable diseases (exception only for diseases without any importance for specific exporting commodities). Non-notifiable disease = no information available = no disease. These non-notifiable diseases contribute to open even more the extraordinary great gap existing in the global information system on animal diseases. This reality has serious impact on international trade facilitating the introduction of non-pathogen free animals and their products into importing countries.
According to OIE World Animal Health in 2003, pages 695-696
5.8 It is obvious that weak public veterinary services are unable to effectively survey and monitor epizootiological situation when they have minimal contact with national animal populations. Animal disease reporting by private services is very often not reliable and not complete in particular as far as disease cases in remote rural areas. The major concentration of private veterinarians is in the cities where they have better chance of work (not always in veterinary practice) and income while public service veterinarians are concentrated also in the major cities spending a lot of time with office paperwork. In many countries the surveillance and control of animal population health/diseases in rural areas is minimal or zero. Absurd privatization of veterinary services imposed by international organizations such as WTO, WB, IMF, etc. (supported by the OIE) understanding falsely the “health” as normal “goods” where the main and only criterion is the profit regardless of consequences for sanitary situation and consumer’s protection.
Example: Prof.DVM,Ph.D Badarchiin Byambaa, Rector, Mongolian State University of Agriculture, Ulan-Bator informed, at the occasion of his visit at Czech Agriculture University, Prague on 5 April 2006, that in Mongolia has applied “absolute privatization” of veterinary services. This can clarify e.g., the enormous differences between reporting of Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) and of Ministry of Agriculture: On page 629 of OIE World Animal Health 2004 the CVO reported 17,928,000 heads of cattle while the ministry informed United Nations about 2,200,000 head of cattle in the same year.
5.9 For any effective disease control, elimination and eradication, the basic precondition is to discover all existing outbreaks. This is possible only through active surveys supported by etiological diagnosis. Therefore, there is so important to report the size (number) of specific investigations and diagnostic methods used. The OIE has been refusing to include these very important indicators in the global information system due to major exporting countries’ fear of unfolding that they are not controlling (i.e. not knowing) properly or not at all the real national veterinary sanitary situation. Reporting the truth = risk for having troubles with the animal commodities export.
In spite of repeatedly declaring by the DG OIE that all provisions and documents are scientifically based, the OIE has never carried out international comparative studies in space and time to select the most suitable, helpful and feasible methods (e.g. reliability grade of reported number of disease cases, impact of the OIE information system, disease control methods and their results, organization and effectivity of veterinary services according to results, manpower working norms, etc.).
6. OIE deliberate extreme reduction of regular reporting on animal disease occurrence in exporting countries
author’s letter to Dr Jean Blancou, Director
General, OIE dated
"In World Animal Health in 1997 to my surprise I found that the "new" list of disease occurrence symbols was significantly reduced which means the availability of much less information needed for decision-making, in particular for risk assessment when importing animals and their products, than before. The graduation symbols of disease occurrence estimates suddenly disappeared after decades of practical application without problems. I cannot see any scientific or practical justification.
Following occurrence symbols were deleted (in comparison with previous years):
(+) Exceptional occurrence
+ Low sporadic occurrence
+++ High occurrence
+.. Disease exists; distribution and occurrence unknown
! Recognised in country for the first time
<= Only in imported animals (quarantine).
All these symbols are replaced by "+". This "new" symbol does not differentiate the disease frequencies in the given country (e.g. it can mean the disease in one animal only, or among imported animals only, or enzootically spread or ubiquitous distribution, etc.).
The disease occurrence (prevalence) value in the exporting country is the starting point for risk assessment when importing animals and their products (see also OIE Code). The member countries should obtain more and more detailed information than before starting computer era and not less. My opinion about the list of the occurrence symbols was expressed in my previous letter.
I suggest to keep the previous occurrence symbols. I learned from your letter that the new annual questionnaire on animal health for 1998 will be sent to the veterinary authorities of the member countries at the beginning of 1999. This is the chance to issue this new questionnaire with the missing disease occurrence symbols ! According to my experience as former Chief-Editor of the FAO-OIE-WHO Animal Health Yearbook I am convinced that there is still time to do it.
I would like to stress that we cannot avoid using symbols estimating the grades of animal population health situation. In no country A and B lists diseases are all obligatory notifiable. In no country exists country-wide active surveillance system to detect a l l specific foci of all OIE lists diseases. This creates problem with the reliability and complexity of reported numeric data. Therefore, the absolute numbers of officially reported outbreaks/cases are usually lower or incomplete than in the reality.
6.2 Instead of improving OIE statistical information system to provide more and better information to member countries in connection with new phase of international trade, previous system was abolished and accepted its significant reduction to have much less information for decision making then before processing data only manually! This abolition was carried out unscrupulously without any previous analysis, any scientific, practical and logical justification, any risk assessment of the consequences and without any respect to information needs for anti-epizootic programmes and for the decision on import conditions. The previous satisfactory global information system was deliberately destroyed to “facilitate trade” through minimizing information on exporting country situation and thus “blinding” importing countries when analyzing the risk of disease import. This act, which could be understood as an international crime facilitating disease globalization, was not any mistake. It is something incredible that, in the global information era providing extraordinary technical conditions for information programmes’ fundamental expansion, the OIE is irresponsibly reducing/eliminating the most important professional data on animal disease occurrence.
6.3 The change started in 1996
at OIE HQs as one of WTO/SPS follow-up action:
“Report on the meeting of the OIE Working
group on informatics and epidemiology,
ad 3) The codes for reporting disease occurrence will be simplified as follows: The codes for positive occurrence:
"+" Reported or known to occur
"+? Serological evidence and/or isolation of causative agent, no clinical disease
An optional qualifier for the above two positive occurrence codes:
( ) Confined to certain zones”.
6.4 Now importing countries have much less regular information
about disease status data for decision making than before ! My letter protesting against this unfair and not
responsible decision about this non-interpretable symbol “+” was answered by the letter of Dr Jean
Blancou, Director General, OIE dated
6.5 The above mentioned OIE Working group is responsible for incredible mess, disinformation (occurrence numeric absolute data in OIE yearbooks are only ad hoc reported cases not reflecting the true status and therefore are significantly confusing importing countries decision making), for very serious gap (abolishing useful occurrence indicators and excellent software HANDISTAT) in the OIE statistic information system (diseases status) and for professional nonsense regarding "risk assessment", "surveillance standards" and prevalence calculation, not respecting obvious suggestions for information improvement, etc.. The OIE proved that it had not professionals who understood the problem, had practical experience at national level, knew importing countries needs and fully respected original OIE policy aimed at the promotion, protection and recovery of global animal population health.
6.6 Other examples of not respecting any suggestions to correct information system: From the letter of Dr Vallat, Director General, OIE dated 20 December 2001 to Prof. Kouba: Subject – Improvement of the OIE Global Animal Health Information System: “So starting from January 2002, a new department will be dedicated to address the problems mentioned in your letter (15/12/2001). I am pleased to inform you that your letter was transferred to Dr Ben Jebara, the Head of the Animal Health Information Department, and that I am sure that many of your comments will be taken into account while developing the activities of this new Department.”.
As usually before, when Dr Blancou was DG OIE and Dr T. Chillaud was the responsible officer for this field of OIE activities, no one of the recommendations (including to correct professional nonsense) was accepted. It is obvious that there was not any good will to improve information system to provide more information for the decisions on import conditions.
6.7 K. Ben Jebara, Head, Animal Health Information Department, OIE in his paper ”Surveillance, detection and responses: managing emerging diseases et national and international levels” in Rev. sci. tech. Off. Int. Epiz., 2004,23 (2), 709-715 dealing with zoonoses emergence didn’t consider that information on zoonoses occurrence provided by the OIE is absolutely insufficient, significantly less than a decade ago, and that some important zoonoses are not monitored at all. This is valid not only for the zoonoses. He stressed the need to established at the central veterinary administration a “veterinary epidemiology units” for surveillance and monitoring (this “need” has been published many times during last two decades). The question is what kind of data it will process and report when the knowledge of epizootiological situation is unknown or known only very superficially? For sending to OIE that the disease occurrence = “+” and “…” i.e. “no information available”, there is not any need for such an unit only for statistical calculation of not reliable data (garbage in, garbage out) and corresponding paperwork. Practical epizootiology or epidemiology as well as disease reporting are based on field work and not on administrative activities. The absurd reduction of disease reporting has nothing to do with real epizootiological (epidemiological) work and makes almost impossible to assess disease situation in exporting countries as basic information for any disease import risk evaluation to be carried out by importing countries.
6.8 Ad absurdum minimizing data on disease situation in exporting countries has become irreversible interest of OIE antisanitary policy “facilitating disease export” loosing its original role of animal health protector in the world. A question is arising “Is the OIE still objective neutral intergovernmental organization or has become a club of CVOs dominated by major exporting countries at the expense of importing countries’ animal health and money ?”
6.9 The OIE in 1998 even abolished without any scientific, practical and logical justification and without any replacement international statistical (numeric) classification of specific communicable diseases ! This is something unimaginable e.g. in human medicine and in the computer age also in all other relevant fields ! Without international statistical classification the terms of individual diseases defined by particular numbers is very easy to confuse the diseases having in different languages (more than one hundred), even in international ones, different expressions. What about the OIE changing sometimes the terms of specific diseases? This criminal “clouding” disease situation in exporting countries represents further tricky step of the OIE “to facilitate international trade” at the expense of animal and human health in importing countries complicating as much as possible importing country decision-making on veterinary conditions.
6.10 Among the members of the OIE Working Group on Informatics and Epidemiology sharing responsibility for the after-WTO/SPS significant reduction and deformation of the global animal health information system belonged : Dr Randall S. Morley (Canada), Dr Stuart C. MacDiarmid (New Zealand), Dr G. K. Bruckner (South Africa) and Dr Sharon R. Thompson (USA). All of them together with the DG and other OIE HQs staff are historically responsible for the shameful dismantlement of animal health system including also very important disease occurrence epizootiological characterization as well as on disease imports.
6.11 If we study carefully incredible antisanitary statements of the most influential OIE “officers” about the “no need” for information on animal disease occurrence then we can understand better the antisanitary OIE policy minimizing up to avoiding informative value of the OIE “information system” (better call it “non-information system”) for importing countries decision about veterinary conditions and confusing/blinding them as much as possible.
-"If, for a particular trade, we have available risk reducing tools (tests, treatment, whatever) … what does it matter what starting risk was ?" (!?) (MacDiarmid, Secretary General, OIE Commission for the Terrestrial Animal Health Code).
- "The need to remove technical obstacles to the free circulation of animals and their products"; "It is not longer possible to apply the old system under which animals and animal products had to come from specific free zones, and were subjected to isolation, quarantine, inspection and diagnostic testing before and after export." (!?) (V. Caporale, President, OIE Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases)
- “Historically, too much emphasis has been placed on how a country or zone can reach ‘disease free’ status and then base the safety of its trade on such freedom”. “The OIE is taking a new approach to setting standards and revising existing ones: the categorization of a country/zone status is first based on the assessment of the overall level of risk present in the country/zone or animal population, rather than on whether a disease has been reported or not.” (!?) (A. Thiermann, President, OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission ).
More information in http://vaclavkouba.byl.cz/oiecode.htm.
These statements reflect as an absolute underestimation (or the most probably deliberate arrangement to trickily “facilitate trade” following the OIE Code concept) of the importance of disease free status and of disease reporting for international trade ! In other words: “what does it matter what animal disease occurrence in exporting country is” ?
7. OIE deliberate abolition of regular reporting on animal disease import cases avoiding the analysis of disease spread through international trade
7.1 One of the most dangerous changes carried out by the OIE in 1996 was the abolition of regular reporting on animal disease import cases. This step extremely favourable to major exporting countries has prevented member countries and world public from objective information on disease spreading through international trade in animals and animal products. This antisanitary step has prevented the scientific institutions from analyzing this phenomenon, the most important for globalization of animal diseases, including those transmissible to man. Deliberate abolition of the extremely important reporting on disease export has been one of key arrangements to make impossible any objective negative impact evaluation of the antisanitary WTO and OIE documents which would require as follow-up their abolition. The intention of the authors was to create an irreparable trap referring to the policy “approved” thanks to the trickery and pressure of major exporting countries on the importing ones to “accept” also non-healthy animals and non-pathogen-free products (see http://vaclavkouba.byl.cz/WTOTEXT3.htm). No importing country is willing consciously and voluntarily to import diseases of animals and man !
Example: Dr B.
Vallat, Director General, OIE wrote me in his letter
7.2 The OIE Code and the authors of the above “measures” have called repeatedly for “scientific disease import risk assessment” to be elaborated by importing countries when asking for disease free import. However, neither the OIE nor the “experts” have analysed the risk of the WTO/SPS and of the “new” Code for disease spreading and negative impact on global animal health. Any United Nations project before starting must contain clear analysis of its risks. The OIE doesn’t know this absolutely basic principle. On the other hand both documents require importing countries to elaborate risk assessment documents following absurd OIE Code methodology.
7.3 The WTO and OIE from the very beginning have avoided deliberately any objective analysis on the catastrophic consequences of their antisanitary policy and have concealed the alarming truth from world public and member country governments. The tragedy is that this dirty behaviour is supported and illogically defended by many so called “veterinary epidemiologists” of the major exporting countries not respecting at all scientific methods based on well documented facts.
7.4 The WTO and OIE obviously are not concerned at all about the globalization of communicable animal diseases through international trade in animals and animal products as the fruit of their policy. Similar behaviour of the unconcern has proved even FAO and WHO as well as World Veterinary Association, namely International Society of Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics (ISVEE).
7.5 There has been created artificially an atmosphere of not admitting even any international discussion or doubts or analyses or publication about the tragic consequences of the WTO and OIE policy.
During the X. Symposium of the ISVEE in
7.6 Due to missing analyses of the WTO/SPS and OIE Code consequences, the author himself as retired former Chief, Animal Health Service, FAO-UN spent a lot of time to study all available incomplete (thanks to OIE information reduction from 1996) official data on disease import as reported by the governments to FAO-UN and OIE. The result was published in Acta Veterinaria Brno, 2003, 72: 453-460 (see also on the author website under the title “Globalization of communicable diseases of animals – crisis of veterinary medicine”). The abstract of this paper see below:
„The analysis of animal diseases globalization is based on official reports on communicable disease introductions through international trade. Number of available reports on these cases during 1980-2000 reached 607: 117 OIE List A disease cases (including 33 of foot-and-mouth disease), 365 OIE List B disease cases (74 of multiple animal species diseases, 142 of cattle diseases, 42 of sheep and goat diseases, 29 of horse diseases, 12 of pig diseases, 49 of avian diseases, etc.), 108 OIE List C disease cases and 17 cases of other diseases. The import of diseases transmissible to man was reported 212 times (34.93 %). Cases of disease reappearance, i.e. newly imported or reemerged after 3 and more years, were reported 329 times. Number of reports on animal disease "recognized in country for the first time" reached 420 cases. All reported data represent only "the tip of the iceberg". Disease import is usually followed by spreading extremely difficult to control, often no manageable and with catastrophic consequences. Very limited number of successful communicable disease control and eradication programmes together with all recoveries of individual diseased animals cannot compensate at all rapidly increasing animal population morbidity in the world. No one animal disease has been globally eradicated yet. Diseases import devaluates the results of control and eradication programmes. Diseases are spreading as never in the past when the trade used to be of much minor size and intensity at much shorter distances to much lesser number of destination places. The situation is getting worse every day towards man-made global ecological irreparable disaster. Continuing worldwide mass spreading of communicable diseases, not being blocked by effective measures, represents serious global crisis of veterinary medicine which historical mission is to promote, protect and recover animal health.“
7.7 Due to missing information system on the impact of WTO/SPS and OIE Code on disease export/import, relevant statistical data are not available and scientific analyses are not possible (in spite of repeatedly using the term “scientific” in almost all respective documents of the WTO and OIE (having even Scientific and Technical Department). What can be more important for the OIE than to monitor worsening global situation in animal health due to international man-made disease spreading to can recommend member country governments adequate protective measures ? Or this is not more the OIE duty ?
8. Zero or minimal knowledge on animal population diseases’ occurrence in exporting countries
8.1 The basis for communicable disease situation knowledge depends first of all on primary reporting by animal owners. This depends on their knowledge to be able to identify particular disease suspicion and on their willingness to report the case to veterinary service. Usually the animal owners first do not accept the idea of communicable disease possibility and try to solve the problem themselves, e.g. treating diseased animals. They are afraid to report the case to the authority with the risk of restrictive measures (e.g. herd isolation, exclusion from trade, sanitary slaughter, investigations, etc.). When the result is not satisfactory and the disease spreads on other animals then finally is called local veterinarian (usually private one). Again it depends on his professional knowledge to be able to exclude particular disease suspicion or to confirm it. Very often initially he hesitates to report the case to public veterinary service and tries to solve the problem himself being afraid of strict anti-epizootic measures and their consequences. Again when the result is not satisfactory and the disease spreads on other animals then finally is called public veterinarian who revises the diagnosis and measures. In case of doubt the specimens are sent to diagnostic laboratories for the confirmation of the preliminary diagnosis or for the exclusion of particular disease suspicion. It is obvious that the reporting to the veterinary authorities has always certain delay. Examples see in 5.6.
8.2 In case of confirmation of internationally notifiable disease the report is included into official data to be sent to relevant international organization for further dissemination. The above procedure is valid for clinically manifested cases representing in the overwhelming majority of communicable diseases in animals only very small part of particular disease cases. This confirms that real epizootiological situation in individual communicable diseases at country and global levels is unknown. Therefore, international trade in animals and animal products not considering this fact (WTO/SPS, OIE Code, etc.) in exporting countries facilitates mass spreading of diseases into importing countries conducing to irreparable disease globalization.
Toma et. al.: Dictionary of Veterinary Epidemiology. Iowa State University
What about animal diseases data reported and processed by "statistical epidemiologists"? Exact calculation of data not corresponding with the reality ! What about the reliability of numeric data reported to and published in the OIE World Animal Health yearbook ?
In some diseases the relation of real number of affected animals (i.e. including “carriers”) and ad hoc reported clinical cases can reach a multiple even of hundreds and thousands.
8.3 The above mentioned phenomenon demonstrates that the numbers of internationally reported cases are absolutely not reflecting specific epizootiological reality and serve only for serious confusing of other member countries, mainly importing ones. It seemingly make epizootiological situation much better than is the reality which is relatively favourable for exporting countries. This is obviously the main reason why OIE international animal health information system is using numeric data in spite of their minimal information value.
There were different approach in collecting data on disease occurrence. FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbook programme was collecting and publishing on disease occurrence professional estimates while OIE World Animal Health absolute numeric data. FAO refused to apply using absolute numbers on disease cases due to generally knew fact, that no country knows exactly the number of diseased animals and their outbreaks of all notifiable diseases, similarly as in human medicine (not considering some exceptions of primary outbreak of introduced exotic disease).
Example: Prof. Dr Zdenek Jezek, leader of the WHO successful programme of the eradication of small pox in the world (the first communicable disease eradicated globally) wrote that as the basis for operational control and eradication actions there was the outbreak (affected village) and not continuously changing numbers of diseases persons (there were usually not calculated due to almost every hour changes).
8.4 One of symptoms of the incorrectness of reporting on country situation are the serious discrepancies between the data on farm animal populations reported by the Chief Veterinary Officers to OIE (published in OIE World Animal Health yearbook) and by the governments to the FAO-UN (published in FAO Production Yearbook – FAOSTAT). These data represent the basis for any epizootiological analysis applying particular indicators such as incidence and prevalence rate etc. This discrepancies had been inexistent until 1995 when published only official data sent by the governments to FAO-UN, i.e. without bothering the CVOs. The OIE started collecting these data through CVOs from 1996 only not respecting government official data and thus created serious confusions in the global animal health information system. In spite of my protest, the OIE has continued this nonsense absurd policy in spite of having repeatedly in all its documents hypocritical statements on scientific procedures, justification, standards etc. The confusion is not necessary if CVOs respect their governments and send to OIE official correct data. This requirement is logical and simple but not for the OIE information system giving priorities to the formal aspects and not to the contents and scientific exactness oriented towards serving to member country governments. It has been very strange behaviour when the inter-government organization such as the OIE has been not respecting at all member country government data. This is one argument more that the OIE has lost the character of real inter-government organization when behaving as a “society of the CVOs” without being responsible for the consequences of its “new” policy in the world animal health situation. Even mass use of computers cannot avoid data discrepancies when the methodology for data collection and reporting is not uniform. It is logical that when using different data sources on the same indicator there is the risk to get different result numbers.
an e-mail of Dr Edward D. Gillin, Chief, Basic Data Branch, Statistic Division,
In Bernard Toma (Head, Infectious Diseases Unit,
What number was correct ?
8.5 Many CVOs of the major exporting countries, countries of strong influence on OIE policy, even of countries having representatives in the OIE Working Group on Veterinary Epidemiology and Informatics (giving “lessons” to the others) and of countries defending and propagating the nonsense OIE Code methodology for disease risk assessment, do not respect at all scientific approach based on non-confusing data reporting.
Examples of 2003 data discrepancies – differences between numbers reported by the CVOs and by the governments:
8.6 How can be trusted the reports on disease situation and export attests of countries where the CVO doesn’t know even the simplest indicator such as the size of farm animal populations ?
8.7 There is difficult to understand why the OIE has not been able during last decade to assure the simplest arrangement for using correct official, i.e. government data on farm animal populations’ size which are available free of charge at FAO Statistic Division. This creates serious doubts about professional qualification of respective OIE HQs staff and OIE information experts not respecting neither normal logic nor scientific principles.
8.8 Other discrepancy between official government and CVO data on animal population’ size. The animal species structure being used satisfactorily for decades for government reporting to United Nations is not respected by the OIE which complicate respective analyses (comparative studies, time series, etc.): FAO livestock numbers structure: horses, mules, asses, cattle, buffaloes, camels, pigs, sheep, goat, chicken, ducks and turkey. OIE livestock numbers following structure: cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, equidae, camelidae, cervidae, swine, birds and rabbits/hares. This discrepancy didn’t exist before WTO/SPS and follow-up OIE “reform”. Why the countries must send the reports on the same phenomena using two different structure questionnaire ?
8.9 OIE repeatedly refuse my recommendations to include into global animal health information system the data on the size of specific investigations (missing) to be able to distinguish if the reported numbers on disease cases are the results of ad hoc collection or of mass investigation. It is obvious that the first form has minimal information value and is even confusing importing countries due to getting reports representing only a fragment of the reality. The size of investigations indicates how far the country knows epizootiological reality and is able to guarantee sanitary quality of exporting commodities. The major exporting countries are afraid to admit their inability to control properly sanitary situation which could complicate their relatively easy export, requiring minimal inputs, at the expense of animal and human health in importing countries.
In connection with the BSE are interesting the data on the number of laboratory tests during 2003 - examples according to OIE World Animal Health in 2003
Country BSE cases number of bovine number of
aged over 24 months tests
Czech Rep. 4 691,785 210,184
Japan 4 2,034,200 missing text
including one case in
8.10 Information on the staff capacity of public veterinary services see on the same website in “Global crisis of professional veterinary manpower” to understand better how far these services are able to control epizootiological situation and trade.
8.11 There are other deficiencies in the OIE animal health information system such as different data on the “year of last case of particular disease”. In some cases this term is not uniformly understood.
8.12 As a component of a “new” global animal health policy from 1996 disappeared also exact scientific definitions of the basic indicators such as different forms of disease incidence and prevalence. In previous FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbook issues (from 1983) there was a three language page with exact definitions expressed using mathematical formulae with corresponding examples to assure international uniformity in understanding and application of these key terms in the global animal health information system. Today in the OIE Code are included very general definitions of the incidence and prevalence and thus conducing (deliberately?) to different understanding. Uniform exact definitions of basic terms is the precondition for any good information system which unfortunately is not the case in global animal health information system.
8.13 Other serious problem is the incredible instability of the OIE information system being changed every year without any respect of the consequences. The authors have not considered at all that any “novelty” introduction requires to inform and instruct more than half a million veterinarians in the world, to change data collection system including new forms (questionnaires), information software programme etc. what costs a lot of money and time. Not speaking about the need to accustom all involved persons and organizations in the new system which usually takes years before working smoothly. Nobody studies economic consequences and time consumption of the mentioned changes. My proposal, sent to DG OIE, for periodical five year evaluations, with follow-up by changes improving the system after being tested under practical conditions, were not accepted. Often changes complicate or make impossible the time series studies similarly as the change of the disease code numbers which is now expected due to abolishing of the difference between List A and List B diseases. The newest system WAHID even eliminated completely disease numeric classification without any scientific, logical or practical justification complicating seriously the search of disease occurrence data and international comparison (study) within extraordinary information (or better no-information) mess.
8.14 The discrepancies are related also to the definitions of “all veterinarians”, “other veterinarians”, etc. conducing to different reporting on the same indicator and thus creating doubts about correctness of the other reported data of more specific animal health character.
Examples of published
data: on Belgium number of government
veterinary officials in 1999 - 148 and in 2000 -
5463; on France number of government veterinary officials in
1998 - 608 and in 1999 and 2000 always
1000; on Italy number of government veterinary officials from 1997 up to 2001
always 5340 without any change; on Kuwait number of government veterinary
officials in 2000 – 1, in 2001 – 0 and
in 2002 – 25. Even
the country having its expert in the OIE Working Group on Informatics and
Epidemiology was unable to report correctly the number of veterinarians:
8.15 Not only above mentioned examples document missing of or serious gap in logical control of received data by the Editor of OIE World Animal Health yearbook. The Editor has not compared reported data with the reports of previous year(s). The is the main reason for publishing so many nonsenses. This was unthinkable in FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbook where every individual data was compared with the previous ones and thus was avoided to publish nonsense data (sometimes due to administrative errors). How can the OIE data can be trusted as truthful information ? These cases again reconfirm that the OIE information system is absolutely lacking logical control of obtained data, i.e. the system in not reliable !
Examples documenting OIE sloppiness:
- Serious discrepancy in reporting number of domestic animals by major exporting countries see in paragraph 8.5.
- Incredible discrepancy in reporting number of domestic animals can be found in OIE World Animal Health 2003, page 589: Mongolia – number of cattle 1,793,000 while in OIE WAH 2004, page 629, ten times more - 17,928,000 cattle (government data sent to UN were 2,053,700 cattle in 2003 and 2,200,000 cattle in 2004).
- United States reported in OIE World Animal Health yearbooks
2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 that the last case of New World screwworm (Cochliomyia hominivorax) was in 1982 in
spite of the new outbreak reported to the OIE on 20 November 1998 (according to
OIE Disease Information 22 January 1999, Vol. 12 - No.2 considered to be
8.16 OIE World Animal Health yearbook doesn’t inform on disease situation in countries which have not sent any report for the particular year. As the consequence the coverage is limited only to those countries which have sent the report, i.e. the yearbook is providing absolutely incomplete picture of global situation. Previously, the FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbook, to provide full global coverage, published also data of countries which didn’t send the report for the particular year and indicated clearly that these data are from previous reports, i.e. repeated data.
9. Zero or minimal reliable data for objective disease situation analysis and import risk assessment
9.1 For objective epizootiological analysis of internationally reportable diseases there is a need for basic data which are unfortunately not available in the global OIE information system. Exceptions are represented only in some of the most important diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease, rinderpest and BSE. Available data provided by the OIE are absolutely incomplete and usually non reliable also for objective evaluation of disease import risk assessment.
9.2 Any epizootiological analysis starts with the data animal population size, structure, distribution, exploitation types, etc. The OIE information system provides only data on the number of farm animals. These data sent by the Chief Veterinary Officers to OIE are often in discrepancy with the official ones sent by the governments to FAO-UN (see 8.5).
9.3 The OIE doesn’t consider at all that for the analyses of animal health situation and for reliable disease risk assessment related to international trade, the information system must provide much more information on all internationally reportable diseases than in the past.
9.4 The OIE, when using instead of relatively reliable professional estimates of disease’ occurrence (considering all available information) only the numeric (absolute) data, doesn’t consider at all that disease occurrence is characterized by the indicators informing about the situation at the beginning (initial point prevalence), during the period (incidence and period prevalence) and at the end of the period (final point prevalence) of affected animals and of outbreaks. For the comparison between different territories the absolute numbers must be combined by relative ones (rates, proportions or %). Unfortunately, data for the evaluation of the mentioned basic epizootiological indicators are missing at all !
9.5 For practical reasons only the most useful indicators with clear definitions to be used. (The definitions of “incidence” and “prevalence” in OIE Code are general, not using mathematical expressions, i.e. conducing to different understanding. Therefore, I recommended in the letters to Dr Tierry Chillaud, Head, Information and Trade Department, OIE dated 16 December 1997 and to Dr Jean Blancou, Director General, OIE dated 19 October 1998 following improvements of the global animal health information system, in particular for annual data reporting (World Animal Health - Part 2 - Tables).
“a) To change the occurrence columns "outbreaks" and "cases" into "new outbreaks" and "new cases" to be clear that the values represent the annual incidence and not point prevalence at the end of the year. Incidence value is significant for the risk assessment indicating the dynamics of specific disease epizootic processes and the effectivity of protective measures.
b) To include into "occurrence" columns a new indicator: number of "outbreaks at the end" of year (final point prevalence of foci) reflecting the result of the annual development (natural or due to control measures).
c) To include into "occurrence" a new indicator: "final prevalence rate" (final point prevalence rate) as the number of cases existing at the end of the given year divided by the total number of animals existing at the same time (expressed in %).
Prevalence rate is the basic indicator for disease risk assessment ! Reports of this indicator value can save importing country veterinary service from complicated calculations of exporting country specific disease prevalence having available reported occurrence symbols only.
Other suggestions and comments:
a) To delete the columns "deaths", "slaughtered" and "treated" which are mostly empty and incomplete saving space for other more important ones needed for disease risk assessment. Control symbols and explanatory notes could be sufficient.
b) To amend the Multiple species of the List B by "salmonellosis" (selected species) belonging among the most important zoonoses, or to add it into the lists of diseases of cattle and pigs.
c) To replace "Caprine and ovine brucellosis (excluding B. ovis)" as B 152 by "Brucella melitensis infection" and thus to avoid mixing with B. abortus and B. suis. This zoonosis must have clear scientific name as all other diseases.
d) To delete in the definition of the symbol "+?" the words "/or isolation of causative agents,". The isolation, i.e. direct prove of etiological agent, has at least the same importance for disease risk assessment as specific clinical manifestation.
e) To use only one list of occurrence symbols, i.e. the separate list of the symbols published in "OIE World Animal World in 1996" (page 379) to be deleted.
f) To include detailed information on internationally recognized "specific disease free zones" in the yearbook, providing analogical data on specific disease as for the whole country, including the description of the territory and the control and protective measures.
g) To issue OIE instructions for the preparation of the country reports which represent complementary information to reported tables based on particular questionnaire.
h) To publish the list of countries not having sent the annual report (statistics) or better to publish the last report indicating clearly the year and that the actual reality could be different.
i) To prepare global introduction of a new perspective reporting system using geographical coordinates for territorial disease distribution and mapping (according to the PANAFTOSA method proved in continental practice).”
9.6 As usually the OIE proved absolute inflexibility to change anything towards providing more and better information on disease situation. Obviously, absurd minimization of data useful for country decisions on import conditions avoiding objective disease import risk assessment, has been the “policy” of the OIE. If we look in the World Animal Health in 2003 – Tables then we can see that many columns are left empty without any data which can be due to gaps in national information system or inability to control specific diseases’ epizootiological situation. Missing data on exporting country disease situation are serious obstacle for disease import risk assessment. How can importing countries evaluate this risk from one “+” and “… information not available” with empty columns of the OIE Table indicators such as “number of outbreaks”, “number of cases”, “number of deaths”, “number of animals destroyed, slaughtered, vaccinated” ? This reality reflects very low level and intensity of internationally reportable disease surveillance, monitoring and control if any.
Examples: The numeric columns in the tables of the World Animal Health in 2003 are let empty for all diseases even in the reports of some major exporting countries such as Australia, New Zealand (having its officer Dr MacDiarmid in one of highest positions at OIE HQs giving “lessons” to the whole world in so called “disease import risk assessment” requiring incredible amount of different data to be processed by importing countries without being provided by necessary data on exporting country disease situation (?).
9.7 Some countries report in the OIE World Animal Health yearbook only partial data not for the whole year or of deliberately reduced values (untruth to facilitate export) , i.e. incomplete, reflecting the insufficiency of or the mess in national information system. In exceptional cases numeric data was accompanied by the note informing that they are only partial, i.e. not for the whole year. How importing country can evaluate the disease import risk having available only exporting country incomplete data delayed more than one year or having no data at all ?
Example: World Animal Health 2002 yearbook (page 570) published in autumn 2003 the Italian numeric data on bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis and leucosis with the note “Partial data up to 30 June 2002”; the same was published in World Animal Health 2003 yearbook (page 542) for the mentioned diseases and cap/ovi brucellosis – “Partial data up to 30 June 2003”; the same was published in World Animal Health 2004 yearbook (page 578) for the mentioned diseases and cap/ovi brucellosis – “Partial data up to 30 June 2004”; in the World Animal Health 2001 data on the mentioned bovine diseases are missing at all ! (Italy has been organizing several international courses on animal disease surveillance giving “lessons” to the others with better system (!?); its officers have been in highest positions at OIE HQs – Prof.Dr Romano Marabelli, President, OIE, Prof.Dr Vincenzo Caporale, President, OIE Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases).
9.8 How can importing countries evaluate current disease import risk having no even minimal data on exporting countries for normal procedure ? This fact explains the interest of the major exporting countries for disease import risk assessment according to the OIE Code nonsense theoretical methodology not requiring data on exporting countries situation (what these countries do not know or report) ! This swindle represents the main concept of the WTO/SPS and the OIE Code conducing to man-made animal disease globalization ! More information see on the same website in “Abuse of disease import risk assessment method = facilitating disease export”.
9.9 Absurd reduction of information on animal disease occurrence by the OIE is obviously reflecting the antisanitary “philosophy” of some leading officers of the OIE HQs. (!?) This “principles” can be understandable when taking into account that many major exporting countries are obviously unable, mainly due to relatively very weak public services, to control effectively the occurrence of diseases, trade and attest issuing “accredited” veterinarians as well as to guarantee full sanitary wholesomeness. According to this “philosophy” there is not important what is the disease situation in exporting countries !? In the other words there is not the need for intensive disease control or eradication, perfect disease cases reporting in exporting countries ! Shortly, these countries can apply the strategy “doing nothing” and export not respecting (not knowing) disease situation thanks to the support in this dirty policy by the WTO/SPS and OIE Code. Impudence and spitting on all the medical and logical principles this planet has never experienced.
One of the leading OIE Officers is Dr S. MacDiarmid, the initiator of the abused risk assessment “mania” who was “promoted” from the member of the OIE Working Group on Informatics and Epidemiology (which deliberately abolished previous satisfactory global regular information system on animal diseases and even abolished regular reporting on disease introduction through animal import !) to Secretary-General, OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission wrote me on 15 January 1996 “If, for a particular trade, we have available risk reducing tools (tests, treatment, whatever) … what does it matter what starting risk was ?" (?!).In this context the statement of another top level OIE officer Prof. Dr V. Caporale merits attention: ”The need to remove technical obstacles to the free circulation of animals and their products. It is not longer possible to apply the old system under which animals and animal products had to come from specific free zones, and were subjected to isolation, quarantine, inspection and diagnostic testing before and after export."
9.10 If we summarize all numeric false data as reported to and published in OIE World Animal Health yearbook on disease occurrence and losses then we are loosing the main argument of animal diseases’ importance required for convincing decision makers on the need to strengthen public veterinary services and disease control programmes. The total of reported numbers of internationally notifiable disease cases is so small (up to several thousands) in comparison with the world populations of many hundred millions (e.g. cattle more than a billion heads) that their importance looks according to the OIE to be close to zero which is absolutely not the truth!
This facts support the tendency to minimize public veterinary services and minimize the budget and support of anti-epizootic programmes. This fact is degrading and “killing” veterinary medicine as important public health, economic, ecological and social factor. OIE has proved not being interested in analysing objectively global losses and human health consequences of animal diseases for getting necessary support of control and eradication programmes and thus giving an example for national analyses. Theoretical and demagogical arguments of the OIE about the importance of animal diseases and of public veterinary services have no weight to convince governments and international organization on the need to strengthen the protect of healthy animals. This fact is one of the factors facilitating to get through the antisanitary document such as WTO/SPS conducing consciously to the globalization of communicable animal diseases. This fact being consciously disseminated by the OIE has conduced to critical absence of motivation and demobilization of governments’ anti-epizootic programme support.
The FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbook (abolished in 1996) was used also for estimating the losses due to animal diseases. First analysis was carried out in 1965 based on official reports of the CVOs with following results in a form of the losses’ proportions from the total national animal production values: e.g. Columbia – 27.1 %, Equator – 12.9 %, USA – 15.4 %, France – 15.1 %, Ireland – 20 %, Italy – 19 %, Mexico – 37.3, Peru – 36.8 %, Uruguay – 31.5 %, Uganda – 31 %, etc. The author after becoming the Editor-in-Chief, using an interpolation of available data collected from selected countries, analysed and published in 1980 annual world losses due to natural death: 64 million cattle – 12.7 million MT, 128 million pigs – 9 million MT, 100 million sheep – 1.5 million MT and 43 million goats – 0.5 million MT; total 23.7 million MT. He introduced from 1983 the collection and publication of the numbers of animal deaths caused by disease (experimental table using data of selected countries), total food losses caused by animal diseases (experimental table) and number of born and death due to natural causes. In 1988 it was started publishing FAO/WHO Experimental Table – Cases of animal diseases (zoonoses) in human population. The aim was to provide member country governments with the arguments supporting animal health programmes and services.
9.11 It is a pity that the OIE is not involved (not interested or afraid ?) in collecting and publishing data for global analyses of disease consequences and their causes. The OIE as well as the WTO have not yet presented to member country governments any analysis of global consequences of their policy and documents (WTO/SPS and OIE Code) on animal and human health, in particular in importing countries. These organizations, in spite of their documents being in force already one decade, have not demonstrated even minimal effort to analyse the consequences and further risk for global animal and human health. Obviously, they are afraid that the member country governments would know the harsh reality of this catastrophic policy impacts and that they would discover that there have been cheated ! The WTO policy has been always trying to facilitate trade at any cost, however the OIE has given up the protection of animal health in contrast with its professional duty. The consequences are already irreparable.
9.12 How can importing countries objectively assess the risk associated with epizootiological situation in exporting countries when the OIE annual information have almost one year or more delay? The OIE obviously exploit any chance to complicate the decision process of the importing countries. Not only the reports are reduced to one “+” and “… no information available” but also other information on disease situation are outdated !
Example: The author on
10. Zero or minimal information on the frequency and types of disease investigations in exporting countries
10.1 One of the most important criterion of the ability to control animal health situation is the frequency and types of specific diseases’ investigations to can understand if reported occurrence data are based on active retrieval or only on ad hoc reporting.
10.2 The major exporting countries and the OIE have obstructed the inclusion in regular information system data on disease investigations’ frequency in spite of several times presented recommendations by the author sent to OIE HQs in Paris.
Example: Recommendations from my letter sent to Dr T. Chillaud, Head, Information and Trade Department, OIE on 16. December 1997: “To include into "control" columns a new one: number of specifically "investigated" or "tested" animals, using OIE diagnostic standard methods, to inform about the size of tested animals . Investigation coverage is utmost important for assessing the grade of knowledge about the absence, presence and distribution of the diseases with a good part of subclinically affected animals. This indicator reflects the quality of monitoring and surveillance systems.” (full text of the letter see on the same website in “Warning letters”).
Also in my letter sent to Dr Vallat, President, OIE Code Commission dated 30 March 2000 was recommended to include into global OIE information system also data on disease investigation:” I have seen the new proposals for chapter 1.4.3 regarding to "Evaluation of Veterinary Services". I would suggest to stress more its purpose, i.e. to provide information to importing countries to be able to asses the reliability of veterinary attests and the. system of analysis for confirmation disease free animals, herds and territories as the basis for issuing veterinary attests. I recommend to include "investigation of animals, herds and territory for confirming diseases free status" which according to me is the most important activity needed for issuing veterinary certificate for export. “
10.3 The major exporting countries obviously are afraid to let know importing countries about relatively limited number of investigated animals, i.e. to unveil that specific disease surveillance, monitoring and control are not adequate or even not existent which could complicate the export demonstrating the truth on the country particular performance, competence and reliability. This is obviously the reason why from more than hundred of indicators (criteria) for veterinary service evaluation in the OIE Code 2004 (chapter 1.3.3 Evaluation of veterinary services and chapter 1.3.4 Guidelines for the evaluation of veterinary services) were omitted the main ones: investigation coverage of animal populations tested for specific diseases and documented practical results in disease prevention, control and eradication.
Some exporting countries apply the principle ”No etiological investigation = no specific disease = specific health = reporting no occurrence” to facilitate trade. Clinical investigations only to confirm specific disease-free status is not sufficient.
10.4 Only some countries report the number of specific investigations for the World Animal Health, OIE, Country Reports but not always indicating the type of tests to can assess the reliability of the resulted numbers of positive, eventually negative cases.
10.5 Some countries report the number of specific investigations for the World Animal Health, OIE, Country Reports but the used tests are not the most effective in terms of the sensitivity (false negative results) as recommended by the “OIE Manual of Standards of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines”. Using less sensitive diagnostic methods means not to discover all affected animals and herds what reflects in the difficulties in controlling or eradicating respective disease in the country.
relatively few countries reporting also the numbers of specific investigations
Zealand reported in previous WAH yearbook
issues that it had managed to reduce successfully bovine tuberculosis
prevalence below 0.1 % already in 1979; however in spite of all efforts
the disease spread in wild animals: from 1985 have been reported in possums (Trichosurus vulpecula), from 1987 in farm deer (Cervus elaphus) and from 1991 also in ferrets (Mustela furo). In 2004 tb was reported (according to WAH 2004, page
251) also in wild pigs, wild cats, stoats, hedgehogs and hares, i.e. the tb
situation became worse than before, obviously due inadequate of
epizootiological control and quite ineffective anti-tb programmes. The bovine
tb instability was confirmed also in farmed cervidae: “At
In spite of this unfavourable situation the
10.6 The users of diagnostic tests need to know their sensitivity and specificity to be able to assess their reliability, the frequency of false results, first of all false negative ones in affected animals. Animals considered as specifically healthy due to false negative results are the most dangerous for the trade. These animals without any clinical symptoms – animal-carriers represent the most frequent form of pathogen spreading. Unfortunately, OIE Manual of Standards for Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines is lacking information on individual test sensitivity and specificity values. In the chapter “Determining assay performance characteristics” is described the calculation method of diagnostic sensitivity and specificity but not applied in individual tests. For identifying sensitivity and specificity there is a need for a lot of experimental work which is possible only in specialized institution. Therefore, it is impossible to ask individual countries to carry out extremely demanding research = recommendation in this chapter, of the otherwise excellent Manual, is for individual countries unreal.
From my letter to Dr Robert Reichard, Head, Scientific and Technical Department, OIE dated 15 December 1997 (copy to DG OIE): “For the next updated issue of the OIE Manual of Standards for Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines I would like to recommend following suggestions and comments for consideration: All diagnostic methods should be amended by the values of their diagnostic specificity and sensibility for individual diseases (event. their forms and/or stages) in respective animal species. These amendments are extraordinary important for the assessment of the risk of false positive and false negative results. False results have serious negative consequences for national and international trade, for the quality of disease control and surveillance programmes as well as of information systems. Diagnostic method specificity and sensibility, requiring demanding experiments, should be provided by the reference laboratories or specialists – authors of individual methods.”
Therefore, I asked Dr Leos Celeda, Czech Delegate to
the OIE to send official letter Dr Jean Blancou, DG OIE with similar
requirements. The answer dated
As usually the OIE proved once again of not having interest in scientific accuracy of recommended diagnostic methods in spite of using hypocritically the term “scientific” in hundred occasions in OIE publications. On the other hand, e.g. OIE publications on risk assessment deal with test sensibility and specificity as normal requirement which unfortunately cannot be met using OIE Manual of Standards for Diagnostic Test and Vaccines, i.e. “correct” theory without practical application.
I remember as former lecturer at “WHO/IZSTe Training course for the facilitators in veterinary epidemiology”, Teramo, 3-16 December 1994 where Prof. Jean-Jacques Bénet from Alfort Veterinary School spent one full day dealing with diagnostic test sensibility and specificity stressing their extraordinary importance (unlike the OIE).
10.7 Other not-satisfactory-solved problem is the absence of the international reference “gold” standards of all diagnostic tests included in the OIE Manual of Standards for Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines. Without them the interpretation of the tests’ results are not uniform to assure international compatibility and comparability of them. This is a very sensitive mater in particular for international trade when different tests in the same animals or samples give different results creating conflicts between the exporting and importing countries. This discrepancy is usually more favourable for exporting ones insisting on their tests’ result and refusing to accept for them troublesome consequences .
10.8 Other problem is the reliability of the methods described in the above mentioned OIE Manual and of international reference standards available for comparative studies and for distribution. Almost all are prepared by individual private specialists (not always the best and fully reliable) instead of top level internationally recognized reference laboratories or institutions after very strict selection and follow-up international supervision. The absence of full reliability offers the chance for exporting countries to influence the reference standards for their interests.
The author also sent to the OIE respective
recommendations for consolidating this
very sensitive problem for the fairness of international trade (letter to Dr
Robert Reichard, Head, Scientific and Technical Department, OIE dated
10.9 Normally, any testing needs to know standard error of the results. This knowledge is of extraordinary importance for epizootiological investigations, investigation of animals and their products for trade, in particular international one. Unfortunately, animal health practice is lacking of this tool and no any international organization involved in animal health acts to fill this gap. This fact represents one of the factors contributing to disease spreading through international trade.
10.10 There is a general tendency of the exporting countries to report minimum information on sanitary situation to be available to the importing countries (not to complicate the export ?). This reality is reflected in the OIE animal health information systems. The most frequent disease occurrence symbol in the OIE World Animal health yearbook is “no information available”. A lot of diseases of this yearbook are in many countries simply not notifiable. On the other hand, the importing countries, for correct anti-epizootic decisions to avoid pathogens’ introduction, need as much as possible data on epizootiological situation in traded commodity provenance (country, territory, locality).
Examples: In paragraphs 12.6, 12.11, 12.12, 12.13, 12.17 and 12.18.
11. OIE abolition of software facilitating analyses of animal health/disease situation for international trade
11.1 Original HandiSTATUS (Help with World Animal Disease Status) was a database programme which contained information about animal diseases important to international trade. The main sources of information were the FAO/OIE/WHO Animal Health Yearbook, published by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Animal health Code and World Animal Health, produced by the International Office of Epizootics (OIE).
The development of this
database was initiated in response to request for information by animal health
personnel in the
11.2 This excellent user-friendly software contained: selection of individual diseases (three language names and synonyms), control methods (individual disease, type of disease, vector transmitted diseases, status A,B,C, country or region, species/commodity and zoonoses), selection of years, views (names, status), International Animal Health Code, affected species and commodities, disease transmission, reference laboratories, colour maps (world, continents), browse distribution listing, yearbook-type listing, zoonoses (listing, map), previous and next records, list of selected diseases, disease codes, occurrence codes, control codes etc. Very important was import/export analysis section comparing epizootiological situation in particular diseases between importing and exporting countries as well as the history of individual diseases situation and control in individual countries..
11.3 At the beginning of 1996 an agreement was reach for the OIE to take over responsibility for the future maintenance and development of the application. Unfortunately, the result was that for the next period of three years this software completely disappeared leaving the countries without having the possibility the exploit this extremely useful tool for their decision-making. The gap affected mainly importing countries loosing a lot of information needed for correct decision on import conditions to avoid disease import.
I sent several letters to Dr Jean Blancou, Director General, OIE in
11.4 Finally OIE produced new version called HANDISTATUS II unfortunately providing much less information needed for decision making than the original version. The new HANDISTATUS II was developed during long 3 years gap. It was expected to produce a new software not only to be formally adjusted to more actual computer system, but first of all to provide more information. It was expected to be more helpful to the users, i.e. member country governments, in deciding about control measures and animal commodities import conditions. Unfortunately, this expectation was not achieved at all and the change was, from professional usefulness point of view, for the worse. The HANDISTATUS II provides information which are anyway published in the OIE World Animal Health yearbook, offering annual data (from 1996) and tables similarly as the original version.
11.5 Unfortunately, many very useful information and components for disease situation analysis and risk assessment, indispensable for import conditions decision, were deleted without any replacement. When comparing original and “new” versions, following components disappeared:
a) full structure of occurrence grading symbols (including symbols for introduced diseases through trade and first discovery in a country) = most significant negative difference strongly degrading (devaluating) the whole "new" information system;
b) global and regional geographical maps of all internationally reportable diseases included in the international information system;
c) information on diseases providing type, incubation, if the disease is or not transmissible to man, synonyms in three international languages, affected species and commodities, disease transmission, etc.;
d) the most helpful information for the decision-making about import/export (risk assessment) indicating difference between the occurrence characteristic of relevant diseases which were for the importing country exotic or new (comparing occurrence at origin and at destination), considering also commodity types;
e) possibility to select group of diseases by different criteria such as types of causal organism (from viruses to parasites), vector transmitted diseases, animal species, commodities, zoonoses, etc.;
f) possibility to select diseases according to which species and commodity they affect;
g) filtering disease list by occurrence facilitating disease situation analyses, risk assessment, analyses of disease introduction through trade, historical time series, forecasting, etc.;
11.6 The original version didn't provide very problematic misleading numerical data about the incidence and losses which are absolutely incomplete and therefore confusing decision makers, as HANDISTATUS II does today.
11.7 One of the advantage of the original version was producing and distributing it also in a compressed form on one 3.5 inch high density diskette, which facilitated wider use.
11.8 From the professional point of view, the HANDISTATUS II, in comparison with original version, has brought nothing new. On the contrary, it has moved this system backward for the worse as a deterrent example to be avoided in the future ! The “new” version lost professional originality and inventiveness which was enriching the first version. In fact, it creates the impression that the "new" version is something else.”
11.9 Abolishing FAO/WHO/OIE Animal health Yearbook Programme in 1996 disappeared (without any professional or logical justification and without any replacement) also very useful list of “Software packages related to animal population, veterinary economics, management and epidemiology” which was introduced in 1988. E.g. in 1995 there were included 33 available software useful for animal population health/disease analyses and programming.
12. New OIE system WAHID provides much less of useful professional information on animal infection occurrence than before computer era
12.1 The OIE launched in April, 2006 a programme called “World Animal Health Information Database” (WAHID) available on the OIE website. This new very extensive and extraordinary complicated (ad absurdum) database was developed to replace HANDISTATUS II software compiling data from 1996 to 2004. The problem is that in spite of exaggerated number of collected data and their extraordinary combinations, the WAHID, version 1.0 doesn’t provide more professional information on disease occurrence than the systems before HANDISTATUS II (FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbook programme, OIE World Animal Health yearbooks up to 1996), even before computer era. The OIE stresses falsely and demagogically that the WAHID is more user-friendly than HANDISTATUS II which was much less informative than original HANDISTATUS (see chapter 11). According to the OIE website the WAHID was developed by Australian Animal Health Services and copyright is of the OIE 2006.
The problem of the member country governments is not so important if the system is user-friendly but they need maximum possible information of professional character on diseases’ occurrence useful for their decision-making what is not the case in WAHID ! It is obvious that the authors - bureaucratic “armchair” theoreticians - do not know at all the real information needs of the member country g o v e r n m e n t s (not only Chief Veterinary Officers) or that they have not good idea about practical epizootiology and epidemiology. However, it cannot be avoided that the “new system” represents other integral part of the tricky OIE policy facilitating export through confusing consciously importing countries about disease’s occurrence reality in the exporting ones. The WAHID is minimizing (up to zero) professional data information on disease occurrence and not distinguishing them from enormous number of data of no informative importance for the member country governments = very few useful ones are lost (hidden) in the “system”. It is obvious that the minimizing of disease occurrence information deliberately serves for making impossible objective decisions of importing countries on the conditions for the import of animal and animal products – following the OIE Code official antisanitary policy to “safeguard world trade” and not to “safeguard world animal health”.
12.2 The OIE likes the self-appreciation in everything,
including the WAHID. E.g. Dr Karim Ben Jebara, Head, OIE Animal Health
Information Department, responsible together with the Director General, OIE for
the system, explained demagogically that
“WADIH is designed to provide high
quality animal diseases information to all stakeholders including veterinary
services, international organization, trading partners, academics, the media
and the large public.” (OIE Press Release – update
In the reality the WADIH provides very low quality information on internationally notifiable animal diseases’ occurrence ! What are the information on disease occurrence such as “+ = disease exists” but “… = information not available” (in overwhelming number of internationally reportable diseases) for? This gap cannot be repaired or filled by any manipulations and exaggerated combinations with this kind of almost non-informative data ! The “new” system continues in keeping extremely reduced regular information system on animal disease occurrence, as established after the WTO/SPS in 1996, instead to expand and improve it as much as possible !
12.3 The WAHID, according to its authors “is a milestone in OIE efforts to improve the transparency, efficiency and speed with which animal health information is disseminated throughout the world.”
The authors forget that the transparency, efficiency and speed depend first of all on the reporting countries and on the professional criteria requested. The authors forget that the transparency depends on how much and what professional (epizootiological) indicators’ data are reported. The WAHID data are so fragmented that the whole system is not transparent ! Instead to keep reported data by individual countries as much as possible in one place, they are widely spread in different WAHID components complicating seriously the analyses on exporting countries diseases’ occurrence.
The authors forget that the efficiency depends on the complexity, reliability and usefulness of reported field data (if representative, i.e. based on population surveys or ad hoc, if based on clinical only or on laboratory etiological diagnosis, who and how reports to National Chief Veterinary Officer, etc.) which is not the case in the WAHID.
The speed is facilitated by using on-line and website systems provided that the countries report the data promptly.
Example of the “speed”: OIE World Animal Health yearbook 2005 was
not yet available to Chief Veterinary Officer,
The extraordinary incredible delay of the OIE yearbook issue has never happened in the past what documents the irresponsibility, demagogy and hypocrisy of the DG OIE and his staff dedicating more attention to problems of secondary international importance such as local animal welfare, food hygiene, etc. The above mentioned statement on the effort to improve the speed of information disseminated throughout the world is only mendacious propaganda as many other OIE statements contrary to the real activities, intentions and results. What is the value of so delayed data? It seems that the OIE HQs staff is not able to cope with their main responsibilities or the delay is deliberate trick to complicate decision-making process on animal commodities import (providing latest “fresh” data with 3 year delay from the end of reported year, i.e. by three years later than in the past before computer era !).
In March 2007 the WAHID is almost empty as far as 2005 data are concerned (the last available data are from 2004 in HANDISTAT II today replaced by WAHID)! How can CVOs of importing countries decide on import conditions having empty hands for normal risk assessment (not considering the fantasy of the OIE risk assessment nonsense methodology)?
12.4 The WAHID, overloaded by enormous data of secondary or no importance for international trade, is contradictory to normal risk assessment practice (not to the OIE tricky methodology) of importing countries when providing them minimum or zero data on diseases’ occurrence in exporting countries. The question is to whom the WAHID serves ? The answer is simple: to the most influential countries not being able to guarantee to export healthy animals and innocuous animal products, i.e. free of diseases/pathogens !
12.5 If we look in the WAHID component called “Country information” then again there are missing extremely important data on disease investigation activities (size of surveys). It is not distinguished if the absolute data are collected ad hoc or if they represent the results of sampling etiological investigations (active surveys). The absolute data are therefore strongly underestimated (unreal = false) and do not correspond at all with the diseases’ occurrence reality ! This is valid for all the countries and from international trade aspect first of all for major exporting countries. Systematic publication of data not corresponding with the diseases’ occurrence reality obviously represents other trick of the OIE = deliberate cheating of importing countries providing them false information to “facilitate trade”.
Some countries simply have not sent any report on animal health situation. What to have this “non-information” system not providing necessary information for ? This fact is much more serious when among the “non-informing” countries belong also the major exporting ones ! Other serious deficiency of the WAHID system is caused by the reduced number of reported diseases due to national systems containing only fragments of the OIE list of internationally reportable diseases. Not notifiable diseases missing in the national systems = information missing also in the global WAHID system. This tactics not to report information on all international reportable diseases is a further trickery of exporting countries = no information = “disease doesn’t exists” = easy export with the OIE international veterinary documents admitting diseases/pathogens export.
12.6 Instead to collect and publish data on real active surveillance, i.e. number of specific etiological investigations, WAHID presents only the words “general surveillance” = saying nothing ! Also when informing on “targeted surveillance” the data on its size are missing. The OIE has always avoided to collect this kind of epizootiologicaly extraordinary important quantitative data obviously due to the fear of major exporting countries’ discovery of not yet known cases (outbreaks) and thus to complicate, i.e. to reduce or even avoid export possibilities.
Examples from OIE WAHID
Animal Health Situation:
WAHID Animal Health Situation: “
WAHID Animal Health Situation: United Kingdom 2005: Again the majority of internationally reportable diseases are not notifiable in this “ever model” country! Not notifiable = no disease occurrence ?! E.g. enterovirus encephalomyelitis, both screwworms, porcine brucellosis, anthrax, Aujeszky’s disease, bovine brucellosis, bovine cysticercosis, classical swine fever, enzootic bovine leukosis, foot-and-mouth disease (obviously WAHID’s one of many professional absurdities), highly path. avian influenza, Maedi-visna, porcine cysticercosis, etc. Further 27 important diseases “for which no information has been provided”, e.g. paratuberculosis, leptospirosis, echinococcosis, IBR/IPV, transmissible gastroenteritis, etc. !
WAHID Animal Health Situation: United States 2005: Again the majority of internationally reportable diseases are not officially notifiable in this country! Not notifiable = no control ! E.g. anthrax (1997-2005), atrophic rhinitis of swine, bluetongue, bovine cysticercosis, echinococcosis, enzootic bovine leukosis, IBR/IPV, leptospirosis, Marek’s disease, myxomatosis, paratuberculosis, porcine cysticercosis, transmissible gastroenteritis, trichinellosis, varroosis, etc.
WAHID information on nationally not notifiable diseases = information of zero value for member country governments ! Not notifiable diseases = WAHID no information for importing countries when deciding on animal import. How can importing country assess diseases’ introduction risks through international trade having not any or minimum (usually unreliable and incomplete) data on diseases’ occurrence in exporting countries ?! What is the OIE Code risk assessment nonsense “methodology” for ?
Note: In 2001-2004 the world was
alarmed by the
This case calls for the
international definition of the bioterror and “biological
weapon”. On the
12.7 Never in the history the global animal health information system funded in 1957 has been converted in an incredible mess based on pseudoscientific, non-professional and illogical nonsense called WAHID based on garbage in = garbage out. It is obvious that any system of this type depends on the professional quality, quantity, completeness and usefulness of the reported data. Unfortunately, actual WAHID represents an absolute disinformation of the member countries, in particular of the importing countries, and continue in the OIE system significantly reduced in 1996. The impressive web forms such as colours, tables and different combinations of the data cannot replace or compensate at all the missing key information on occurrence characteristics of all internationally reportable diseases threatening importing countries.
OIE WAHID website on
12.8 The component “Country information – animal health situation” is specified:” This lists every OIE-listed disease and indicates whether it has been reported as present or absent from the country in the specific time period, based on six-monthly reports.” These kinds of “reports” represent a very primitive information (better “no-information”) instead to inform on disease occurrence situation and characteristics. This kind of reporting presence by “+” only installed (dictated) by the OIE “specialists” in 1996 to facilitate trade, would be acceptable perhaps at the beginning of the 20th century and not today in computer information era.
E.g. the WAHID doesn’t distinguish at all exceptional case in imported animal (in quarantine) from e.g. ubiquitous occurrence affecting millions of animals representing quite different situations and risks. This kind of difference is comprehensible to any person (even not knowing read and write) with the exception of the OIE staff and “experts” considering themselves as infallible “world superscientists”.
This unbelievable degradation of global animal health information system was unimaginable when as the Director General, OIE was Dr L. Blajan (France) having rich practical experience with national public veterinary service management and international animal trade and strictly observing the anti-epizootic mission of the OIE (what is missing today).
12.9 The major confusion demonstrating absolute lack of veterinary professionalism of the authors is represented by the WAHID component called “Country sanitary situation comparison”. In the above mentioned “OIE Press release” signed by Maria Zampaglione, there is following text: ”Comparative disease status between two countries can help define health hazards linked to the trade of live animals and animal products between countries.” Unfortunately, this component form represents a top of professional nonsense ! It tries to copy the original HANDISTATUS (before taking it over and significant reduction and deformation by the OIE) component on the same subject. However, at that time the programme provided very practical concise comparing only the differences and detailed epizootiological characteristics of international importance related to particular commodity (see 11.5 d) what is absolutely unknown in the WAHID.
In the original HANDISTATUS developed by Dr Theresa Bernardo in 1991 (see chapter 11) the country sanitary comparison between exporting and importing countries was addressed to particular commodities comparing the diseases occurrence informing about their epizootiological characteristics such as: suspected but not confirmed; exceptional occurrence; low sporadic occurrence; enzootic occurrence; high occurrence; serological evidence and/or isolation of causative agent, no clinical disease, disease exists; distribution and occurrence unknown; confined to certain regions; ubiquitous; recognized in country for the first time and only in imported animals (quarantine). The most important diseases were presented also according to the pathogen strain types (i.e. 7 types of the foot-and-mouth disease – see 4.3) and particular animal susceptible species affected. These kinds of very practical and needed information have been missing at all in the whole post-SPS OIE information systems, including the new WAHID, thanks to deliberate criminal reduction of epizootiological data to facilitate (support) export of diseases/pathogens abusing OIE risk assessment methods.
12.10 First nonsense is the “classification” of the hazards: “Probable hazards”, “Possible hazards” and “Unlikely to be hazards”. Why probably ? Why possible ? Why unlikely ? The communicable diseases and pathogens’ for the OIE WAHID do not represent any normal hazard ?! Then what is sanitary hazard ?! Any transmissible animal diseases and their pathogens are sanitary hazards !!! This WAHID nonsense is fitting to the OIE risk assessment tricks to minimize protective measures in importing countries against diseases/pathogens introduction! How can the OIE “classify” the hazards without the knowledge of real situation in trading countries ? Every case is different ! This trickery once again confirms the OIE policy not admitting trade in healthy animals and pathogen-free animal products ! The OIE is imposing only the trade exporting diseases/pathogens to “safeguard” international trade and not to safeguard animal and human health !
“Normal hazard” = for WAHID and its “armchair” theoretical pseudoscientific authors is absolutely unknown phenomenon in spite of its daily practical reality, experience and application.
WAHID artificial pseudo definitions, non scientifically, logically and practically justified:
“Probable hazards” = “The following diseases occur in the exporting country. They should therefore probably be considered as hazard for trade”.
“Possible hazards” = “No information available for the following diseases, either in the exporting, the importing country or both. More information is required to determine if these diseases may be considered as a hazard”.
“Unlikely to be hazards” = “The following diseases are either absent from both countries, or present in the importing country, and are therefore unlikely to be trade hazard. However, some diseases may still be considered a hazard, particularly if the is a disease control program in place in the importing country.”
This stupidity demonstrates that the authors (computer specialists and the OIE HQs supervising staff) have not any idea on the field reality, practical risks, information needs of the importing countries and on biological characteristics of individual diseases. They simply play with different software components without respecting the real need and possibility of the OIE member country governments that should be the only target for any animal health international information system. They have been continuously theoretically developing new and new systems without any analysis of the existing and previous systems effectiveness and experience and of the member country governments real practical needs and possibilities of animal health protection and disease control. They do not respect scientific methodology based on objective analyses, pilot testing of practical application under real conditions and evaluating the consequences – usefulness and cost-benefit effectivity, in our case the impact on animal population health.
There are many OIE and FAO analyses of animal diseases’ impact on trade but no any analysis of trade impact on animal and human health.
12.11 In the very long list of all reportable diseases it can be found information on sanitary situation in exporting country only by the term “clinical disease” !?! For international trade there are not important animals with clinical symptoms only but all animals affected (carriers) by respective pathogens (usually the majority of diseases cases are represented by subclinical forms – they are the most dangerous for disease spreading!). The most important information on diseases’ occurrence situation are missing at all (i.e. criminally blinding importing countries) what corresponds with the OIE anti-sanitary policy to provide importing countries with minimum up to zero information or with conscious disinformation (camouflage) not to complicate relatively easy and very profiting trade of the major exporting countries, regardless of their sanitary situation.
Examples: WAHID January 2007 web on Jul-Dec. 2005: Exporting from France to Czech republic – “Probable hazards” – in about 40 diseases “clinical disease” i.e. not any data on disease occurrence reality necessary for import decision; “Possible hazard” – in about 40 disease “ No information available”; “Unlikely to be hazard” – two pages of diseases (including paratuberculosis – clinical diseases, bovine brucellosis – last report in 2003, bluetongue – last report in 2005, cap/ovi brucel.(not B.ovis) – last report in 2003, pullorum disease – last report in 2004, etc. – i.e. chronic diseases not yet eradicated are presented as “unlikely to be hazard” when de facto there is a very risky hazard documented by the export of these diseases in the past!)
This example demonstrates that the WAHID is the source of professional nonsense when including existing chronic diseases among “unlikely to be hazard” when just these diseases are the most risky due to their subclinical forms and difficulty to control and eradicate them. In these diseases the lack of ad hoc reported cases during short period doesn’t mean not existing occurrence !
Examples see in paragraph 3.7 and 8.2.
12.12 How can the importing countries assess the diseases’ introduction risk to import from a country when the WAHID has no any information on this country diseases’ occurrence ?! This kind of gap in global animal health information system has almost never happened ! The hazard is also to import from those countries not reporting any or only minimal data on diseases’ occurrence situation.
Example: If we look for the comparison of sanitary situation between
any importing country and New Zealand as exporting one then we can find in
WAHID website (dated 3 February 2007) for 2005: “There is no report for New Zealand”. (The absurd theory of hazards and tricky risk
assessment, applied in the OIE documents, originated in the New Zealand – today
occupying key OIE posts: Dr Barry O’Neil, President, Office
International of Epizootics and Dr S. C. MacDiarmid, Secretary General, OIE
Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission; one would expect that at
least the most influential exporting countries continuously giving lessons to all
the world would provide the OIE with necessary information (even the most
reduced ones). The same “information” is
12.13 The classification of the hazard is not only artificial but demonstrates that the authors have no idea about communicable disease characteristics, in particular about the disease spread risks. They do not distinguish (do not understand what must know any student of veterinary medicine) acute and chronic diseases lasting for years before their eradication. WAHID declares as the diseases with “Unlikely to be hazards” those existing in exporting country for years (not being eradicated) even when the last report was less than a year before.
If we look for the comparison
12.14 The only reason for this “classification” is to support the export of non-healthy animals and non-pathogen-free animal products abusing the criminal theory that for the international trade doesn’t exist any real sanitary hazards = the highly profiting diseases/pathogens export can continue without limitation ! The importing countries have not any chance to protest against this antisanitary and thievish OIE policy imposed by the most influential exporting countries.
The main reason of the WAHID is again to avoid importing countries’ requirements for full sanitary guarantee of exported animal commodities, i.e. for diseases/pathogens free trade! And this cannot be admitted by the major exporting countries and their lackeys in the OIE HQs.
What about the elaboration of disease introduction risk assessment according to the stupid methodology of the OIE Code ? The importing country must elaborate the risk assessment for all in the WAHID mentioned diseases, i.e. for all the “hazards” or only for the “possible hazards” and “probable hazards” ? Or there is not any need for any risk assessment when according to the WAHID the real hazards do not exist and the animal trade can continue without any protective measures ? This is obviously the main objective of all the endeavour of the OIE animal health destructive policy.
12.15 The OIE has stopped to support full sanitary quality trade becoming the main organizer of international spreading of animal diseases !. The consequences of this criminal policy during last decade caused dead and suffering of incalculable millions of animals and humans due to pathogens imported thanks the OIE antisanitary and antihuman dirty policy.
12.16 The WAHID, in spite of being the “newest” programme, is lacking international numeric classification of animal diseases as it was normal a decade ago (up to 1998) and as it is absolutely normal in any modern international information system, not only in the medicine. The WAHID list of diseases represents a mishmash mixing different animal species, different families of animal kingdom and the diseases of very different importance for international trade. The “no-system” has nothing to do with the OIE demagogically declared “transparency” ! Different lists of diseases are ordered according to English alphabet not respecting: other international languages, logical diseases groupings, disease importance, susceptible animal species, disease different characteristics of their agents (types, subtypes, exotic strains, resistance, virulence, etc.) The WAHID providing minimal or zero useful information signifies much more unnecessary administration and paper work than before, wasting time and money in all member countries.
12.17 The OIE data on the simplest indicator, i.e. the size of domestic animal populations, normally available in national livestock statistics do not corresponds with the report of country government sent by the ministries to United Nations. This discrepancy is not justified. The animal population data available in FAOSTAT information system can be easily copied on-line in WAHID. Unfortunately, both last OIE Directors Generals didn’t consider any proposals sent by the author of this paper. What data are correct when on the same subject two international organizations publish different values ? How can be trusted WAHID data on animal disease occurrence, particularly when the reporting is only ad hoc. In WAHID strongly predominates the statement “no information available”.
Examples from OIE WAHID website, dated
12.18 Zoonoses in Humans represent other component of the WAHID. The previous experimental table was converted in normal very useful form. The authors merit the appreciation. Unfortunately, the majority of the member countries (even the most influential countries) have not sent any data on zoonoses in humans and therefore the WAHID provides minimum information, if any.
Examples from OIE WAHID
WAHID for France, United Kingdom, New Zealand, United States, Australia, Germany, Canada, Russia, Bulgaria (having Dr Belev at OIE HQs as DG OIE Adviser), Italy (CVO even in the Ministry of Health !), etc., 2005: No information.
See also example in the paragraph 8.2.
The calculation of the rate of cases per 100,000 population is absolutely confusing and not reflecting at all the reality which is much worse than the number of reported cases. The exact number of the cases are not known and therefore this kind of calculation as well as of ranking has not any practical sense.
is assumed that, for every case of salmonellosis recorded in humans in the
12.19 Laboratory capability to find a laboratory capable of performing a particular test. It seems that this data are included as a new component in the global animal health information system. Therefore, the data were not yet available. Similarly the component on vaccine production. The problem is that the collection of these data will be extremely difficult and laborious, incomplete (= disinformation), in permanent change, drugging away national services from their much more important work regarding diseases’ surveillance, monitoring, control and eradication. These “data” cannot replace the guarantee of pathogen-free animal exports what is the main global problem.
12.20 Disease control measures. The WAHID obviously has not yet processed relevant data of the year 2005, i.e. after more than one year ! What this kind of “data” or more exactly “no data” are for ? This extraordinary prolonged delay has never before happened even in the time of manual processing of collected data !
Examples from OIE WAHID
12.21 The WAHID, due to missing the key professional information on diseases’ occurrence characteristics, in spite of super-combination ad absurdum of available strongly incomplete data, provides much less information on diseases’ occurrence than the previous global common systems of the FAO/OIE/WHO and than the original HANDISTAT - really user-friendly software (see 6.1). The WAHID, overloaded by a lot of ballast - components of secondary or no importance for importing countries, continues with the same professional content deficiencies as the OIE HANDISTATUS II (see 11). The WAHID from the informative value point of view suffers the consequences of the significant reduction of disease occurrence indicators imposed deliberately by the OIE already in 1996 (see 3.4). The WAHID represents only one of many steps of the OIE to foggy real epizootiological situation in the major exporting countries misinforming the importing ones and thus to facilitate = support diseases/pathogens spreading through international trade ! This can be confirmed also by incredible statements of the most influential persons in the OIE (see 6.11) that in order to safeguard international trade the knowledge of diseases’ occurrence characteristics in exporting countries is for importing countries not necessary !? Then why to have global almost “non-informative” information system such as the non-user-friendly WAHID ?
12.22 The WAHID similarly as the OIE significantly reduced information system from 1996 (to facilitate animal export) contains less information on disease occurrence situation than the joint FAO/WHO/OIE Animal Health Yearbook programme five decades ago !
And disease occurrence situation is the most important characteristic for international trade, namely for importing country decision on veterinary conditions based on the assessment of diseases/pathogens introduction risks ! From the key criterion point of view the WAHID similarly as the HANDISTAT II represents backward step instead of desirable progress.
12.23 The WAHID continues with the same deliberate information reduction (= disinformation) as the OIE introduced in 1996 to “cover” the unfavourable reality in the major exporting countries unable to control internationally reportable diseases at home and to guarantee pathogen-free export.
The WAHID continues with: serious gaps in the list of internationally reportable diseases, with extreme reduction of regular reporting on animal disease occurrence in exporting countries, with the abolition of regular reporting on animal disease import cases avoiding the analysis of disease spread through international trade, with zero or minimal knowledge on animal diseases’ occurrence in exporting countries, with zero or minimal reliable data for objective disease situation analysis and import risk assessment, zero information on the frequency and types of disease investigations in exporting countries, etc. The WAHID doesn’t distinguish at all the basic indicators such as disease cases or outbreaks incidence (new cases) and prevalence (situation at a given time) representing two quite different values of different informative importance ! This difference is known to any student of veterinary medicine ! This difference is obviously not known to the DG OIE, his staff and his self-declared “world top specialists for disease risk assessment” !
12.24 The responsibility for this global nonsense in animal population medicine is first of all of the leading “veterinarians” in the OIE HQs admitting to spent global taxpayers money for wasting time and resources instead to assist effectively in anti-epizootic activities. The software programmer can process only data as provided by the animal health professionals following their instructions. Garbage data can produce only garbage outcome. This is exactly the case of WAHID as far as disease occurrence – the most important information - is concerned. The WAHID will obviously serve only to the pseudoscientific “armchair” paper theoreticians to publish collected data and not to member country governments for effective solving their anti-epizootic problems and for avoiding diseases/pathogens spreading through international trade.
What are the reasons to publish every year (now even every six-monthly period using nice colours but complicating unreasonably annual comparative studies) the same report (“+”) without any corresponding action for disease eradication or for stopping risky export. Using “+” without disease occurrence grading (as it was before) devaluates also previous useful multiannual animal diseases’ status to can assess the disease history and trends. The OIE is not supporting at all anti-epizootic actions as it was before 1995. It looks that the OIE prevailing form is the paperwork, playing with the computer, collecting very problematic data (for computer storing or shelving ?) without any practical follow-up actions, i.e. strategy “doing nothing” against animal diseases. Then the OIE information system is serving mainly (or exclusively) to maximal profit of exporting countries regardless of animal and human health in importing countries.
12.25 Better to abolish this non-informative “information” pseudosystem on disease occurrence than to cheat, in service of major exporters, member country governments and to consciously support animal diseases/pathogens’ spreading in the world. The serious deficiency of the OIE system has caused that other international organizations have established their own animal disease information system (e.g. FAO – TADinfo, EMPRES Information System -Empres-i, FAO Regional information systems, European Union information system, PAHO information system, etc.) requiring also animal health data from the Chief Veterinary Officers. The duplicities and collecting different indicators data bother and overload uselessly public veterinary services at all managerial levels reducing the resources and time needed for practical field anti-epizootic actions. If we summarize these useless losses globally then it would be enormous sum. Nonsense fantasies of formal super combinations based on not reliable and not complete data cannot replace missing objective professional contents as is the need for anti-epizootic decisions of the member country governments. Where are the times when it was only one common global animal health information system providing more information on diseases’ occurrence than the HANDISTAT II and now the WAHID ?
Unofficial data on animal disease occurrence were published in different documents such as excellent “Animal disease occurrence” produced by the Commonwealth Agriculture Bureaux (CIB), Commission of the European Communities containing abstracts covering every branch of agriculture science available in different journals.
12.26 The critical words are not addressed to the OIE operational information system established by Dr R. Vittoz and Dr L. Blajan (Directors General who did not betrayed the original OIE mission as it happened later) decades ago what has proved as very useful as far as the most dangerous diseases are concerned. The use of computer facilities has helped to increase the speed of the information sent to and from the OIE HQs. The only problem is that these operational reports usually do not indicate the country origin of imported infected animals or animal products to can organize action for avoiding the repetition of this kind of disease export.
12.27 One should appreciate the effort to improve global animal health information system. The problem is that modern computerization of available data in the case of the WAHID has not brought more professional information on diseases’ occurrence (one would expect at least as it was decades ago before deliberate destruction of previous functioning system by the OIE) for better protection of importing countries and more effective international control of communicable diseases. It is obvious that software programmer cannot repair or compensate serious deficiencies as far as animal health aspects are concerned. The full responsibility for the professional content is of the OIE HQs staff and its “experts”. It seems that the main (or only) interest was to minimize key information on disease situation in exporting countries and maximize ballast data and thus complicating decision making of the importing countries and facilitating the export. The best possible software and websites developed by the best possible programmers cannot replace missing key data !
12.28 The WAHID continues to collect and disseminate animal disease occurrence information not distinguishing e.g. imported only cases or exceptional cases and ubiquitous disease distribution ! Even any illiterate person in the world is able to understand that there is very significant difference between one diseased animal and millions of diseased animals. Even any illiterate person in the world understands that any disease risk starts in its origin territory and population. There are exceptions: self-declared “world specialists” of the OIE not applying the simplest logic or applying consciously criminal anti-sanitary policy of supporting unscrupulously the mass spread of animal diseases/pathogens through international trade. This organized diseases’ globalization, for major profit of the exporting countries and their businessmen, could be understood as the OIE contribution to the ecological damage of the planet making worse the consequences of the global warming.
12.29 Obviously the WAHID belongs also to the OIE artificial theatre, combined with unbelievable demagogy, to avoid international trade in really healthy animals and pathogen-free animal products through blinding importing countries about the unfavourable animal disease occurrence in exporting countries. The data computerization is absolutely necessary, however it must be avoided any absurd super combination (modelling mania), even if it is theoretically correct.
As the serious warning should be the irresponsible application of perhaps theoretically correct computerized models (but quite isolated from the reality such as EPIMAN-FMD produced in New Zealand) for the control of the foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom in 2001 causing unbelievable losses of almost 10 million animals.
12.30 On the other hand the WAHID contains a new very useful component “Disease outbreak maps”: exact localization of reported very dangerous diseases’ outbreaks in global, regional, national and local colour maps based on data identifying geographical parameters – longitude and latitude. This system represents a significant progress in monitoring global and national epizootiological situation as far as new disease outbreaks’ localization. The relevant improved questionnaire “Exceptional epidemiological events” is useful for operational reporting of new cases of the most dangerous animal diseases. Other component merits also appreciation: rapid finding actual and previous reports on emergency diseases including location of the outbreaks.
About two decades ago a similar system was developed
by PANAFTOSA (author: Dr Vicente M. Astudillo) in
The problem is that formally correct indicators in the tables often do not contain corresponding professional data in the WAHID maps = lost of the reliability. Not all information on disease occurrence presented on the maps often do not correspond with other parts of the WAHID system, mainly due to missing logical control by the responsible (irresponsible ?) OIE Editor. These cases reconfirm that the WAHID is not professionally reliable confusing member country governments and thus contributing indirectly to disease spreading through international trade.
Example: The all world knows that in
Also the “Summary of Immediate notification and Follow-ups” looks interesting however the data of “Total” and “Grand Total” do not represent at all the reality which is many times higher (e.g. in some chronic wide-spread diseases with lower grade of clinical manifestation the reality is hundred or even thousand times higher). This kind of incomplete data are confusing decision-makers and conducing to absolute underestimation of particular diseases’ economic importance and to loosing necessary support for specific anti-epizootic actions. This kind of data, without any proper comments indicating that the truth is quite different, are therefore very dangerous for anti-epizootic policy and international trade. Other deficiency is represented by the fact that the data are only on new cases during the period and not on the situation at the end of the period what is of extraordinary importance as the latest information for importing country decision-making.
12.31 As far as the veterinary manpower is concerned, the OIE changed illogically the structure of the indicators (without exact definitions) not respecting at all the basic principle in statistics such as to keep time series for comparative evaluation of the data values development (i.e. in this case considering previous versions of the HANDISTATus software and OIE World Animal Health yearbooks). The WAHID includes some new indicators without major importance for the importing country decisions. The OIE abolished previous clear cut definitions of individual indicators without any replacement and therefore every country reports something else. The absolute confusion can be documented, e.g. by the facts that the numeric data on „Animal Health Public Veterinarians“ are exactly the same as the data on „Laboratories Government Veterinarians“ !?. This is something incredible, even the basic school children are able to differentiate similar data.
The WAHID for 2006
contains the same data on „Animal
Health Public Veterinarians“ and on
Other WAHID 2006 information nonsense is on the
The component entitled “Veterinarians and paraveterinarians” was practically without any data (March 2007) = empty. The last information is from 2004 in the HANDISTAT II being replaced by the WAHID. For 2005 there was only a long list of all the countries and in the column “Personnel” were only data from Algeria and Swaziland while the rest was N/A = “data not available” !
The information on veterinary manpower and its structure is decisive for importing country decision on veterinary conditions considering the ability of the CVO and public veterinary service to control animal disease situation and trade, to supervise private veterinarians issuing export certificates and to guarantee full sanitary quality of the exported animals and their products !
It demonstrates once more that the WAHID serves only to major exporting countries, also in this component concealing the fact that they have very weak government veterinary services unable to control effectively animal health situation in their home countries and to guarantee sanitarily innocuous export of animals and animal products !
More information in http://vaclavkouba.byl.cz/vetmanpower.htm.
12.32 The other professional nonsense is represented by the definition of the Livestock Units = „250 kg livestock standard unit calculated on the basis of average weights of different species“. The OIE-Australian authors-theoreticians didn‘t study any relevant documents and literature to know that international reporting on livestock population is based on data according to the number of individual animal species. How the OIE WAHID Livestock Units can be calculated when the basic comparative data on the species weight are internationally not available (not reported obligatorily by the member country governments) ? There is not any justification for this “novelty” when for decades exist conversion rates for individual species of domestic animals. Why the authors didn‘t used existing normal international systems (see the OIE publications *). Obviously, they want to be in all aspects original while complicating ad absurdum everything following the OIE policy of deliberately causing systematic information confusions of importing countries (to „facilitate export“ ?). What the OIE WAHID Livestock Units nonsense data per km2 and ranking are for ? Which government needs this fantasy when many of them do not know even the numbers of food producing animals in their home countries (see paragraph 8.7) ?
*) Example: V. Kouba: Rev. sci. tech. Off. Int. Epiz., 2003, 22 (3), 899-908.
12.33 Instead to test widely the new information system under practical conditions and in between to continue with the existing one (HANDISTAT II) avoiding the gaps in country information, the OIE and its bureaucratic “armchair” theoreticians started their nonsense system immediately causing incredible information mess in the whole world with very negative consequences for importing countries due to lacking necessary information on exporting countries animal diseases and veterinary manpower data to identify correctly trade protective measures. The WAHID continues to cover up consciously the truth on sanitary situation in exporting countries following the OIE anti-sanitary policy facilitating trade at the expense of importing countries’ health.
12.34 This WAHID case reconfirms the top demagogy and hypocrisy of the OIE leaders repeating systematically that all OIE documents are scientifically based (“hundred times repeated lie becomes the truth” – Goebels’ Nazi propaganda concept) what is absolutely not the truth. The scientific approach principle obviously is not valid for the OIE, its documents and methods (in spite of having special Scientific Department) ! At the same time the OIE Code requires that the disease introduction risk assessment to be elaborated by the importing countries must be scientifically based.
12.35 The basic question is how far a given information system is useful for the users and how far it is user-friendly. In this case the m a i n u s e r s are the member country g o v e r n m e n t s and not individual institutions and professionals. Because the key OIE problem is international trade in animals and animal products, the governments need to have all necessary data (exactly as reported) on particular exporting country in o n e p l a c e, as it was before, and not spread (ad absurdum) in many different parts of the information system as it is in the WAHID !!
To exploit reported data combining them according to different criteria can be welcome only as secondary outputs for those who could be interested in them. Only as interesting information can be used “List of countries by disease situation”, “Immediate notification and follow-up report performance” (containing Event-Report, Event-Submit, Total and Follow-up Report) , etc.
Notes: In the “Immediate notification and follow-up report performance” there is interesting information (if it is truth?) that Canada submitted to OIE a disease event report after 136 days from disease beginning (notified officially 89 days from the disease start) ! The data in colour e.g. in “Disease timelines” cannot be printed by normal black ink printer generally available in the majority of veterinary institutions (coloured columns are left empty).
13. New OIE World Animal Health yearbooks – provide much less of useful professional information on animal infection occurrence than before computer era
13.1 In March 2008 the Chief Veterinary Officers of the OIE member countries finally received the “new” World Animal Health yearbooks 2005 and 2006, i.e. with about 3 years delay ! This is similar case as several years ago when the OIE was changing the HANDISTAT software during 3 years letting member country governments without necessary information for decision making about international trade and measures. This kind of information lost any value and represents wasting time and money reflecting absolute irresponsibility of the OIE HQs staff well paid by the member country governments.
13.2 One would expect that the new World Animal Health would bring much more useful information for member country government decision on international trade and animal infection control. Unfortunately, the OIE is continuing to complicate even more the whole information system (better no-information one) reducing significantly already reduced previous information “system”. The authors absolutely do not respect the needs of the member countries, mainly importing ones and instead to enrich useful information they reduce them to minimum and add a lot of ballast (perhaps useful for papers of some armchair self-declared “veterinary epidemiologist” dominated the OIE HQs) documenting once again that they have not any idea on the animal population health reality, practice, problems and needs.
13.3 First of all the OIE reduces two-volume World Animal Health yearbook into one-volume publication eliminating the most useful and interesting first volume – Reports on Animal Health Status and Methods for Disease Control and Prevention (in 2004 of 412 pages). Every country described the main animal infection problems and their solution including experience useful for the others. The texts and data were copied exactly as received without any OIE HQs “improvements (?)”. Elimination of these extremely useful information sent by the member country governments for being disseminated testifies absolute contemning of importing country governments in order “to facilitate of non-pathogen-free export”. It could be that the OIE so called “experts” do not like texts due to inability to processed them statistically. It demonstrates once again that in the OIE HQs there is nobody qualified to be able to defend the interest of the member country governments against irresponsible theoreticians from the OIE dominating countries. They are experimenting at the global level (not at home country of the authors where this nonsense would never be accepted), regardless of the usefulness, without any risk assessment of the consequences, without any practical testing and proof and not considering at all wasting time of hundreds of thousands veterinarians and enormous amount of money in all the countries’ tax payers. This unbelievable situation in the OIE started immediately after the WTO/SPS in 1995 to “facilitate non-pathogen-free export”.
13.4 On the other hand the second volume was expanded without adding any real information on animal infection occurrence. The table contain enormous space used for empty or semi-empty pages. So called statisticians and software developers following the OIE HQs instructions created a mess of a lot of new data confusing member country governments. The main information on animal infection occurrence is still close to zero = “+”, i.e. without giving the picture of the real situation and its development. All other “ad hoc” collected data, not corresponding with the country reality, are not necessary for the import condition decision making (= ballast). The comments in the chapter are fully valid for the “new information miracle” of the OIE. Practically the same superficial information published in previous WAH issues can be found also in the new WAH with the difference of significantly increased number of individual country pages. This is economics !
Example: The table on
disease/infection presence in
13.5 The “new WAH yearbook is providing less animal infection occurrence data than before 1995. What the country governments need for their decision making on the import and risk assessment? Not only the presence or absence of the infection (this is only indicator which survived the drastic deliberate reduction in the middle of the 1990s). The rest of indicators the OIE eliminated in spite of their extraordinary importance for the member countries decision-making (see also chapters 6 and 7). For this purpose is absolutely necessary also to know data about specific etiological investigations (surveys) to be able to assess the reliability of the infection occurrence reliablity (it is obvious that ad hoc reported data value are far from the reality what are x-times higher). The exporting countries have fear of revealing the weakness of veterinary services not able to control effectively epizootiological situation due to lack of necessary etiological surveys and due to insufficient knowledge of this situation.
Example see in 12.18.
13.6 The authors have not any idea about the epizootiology or veterinary epidemiology. The absolute data are base on ad hoc reporting, i.e. are significantly of minor value than in the reality. In spite of this the tables present these data as the reality to confuse importing countries not obtaining real data or qualified estimates. The number of outbreaks is subdivided into two columns “New outbreaks” and “Total outbreaks” without any clear definitions. Logically, there must be the distinction between new cases (incidence) and case at the end of the reported period (moment prevalence) which is obviously difficult the authors to understand it. All numeric data not corresponding with reality are not necessary. They serve only to confuse the readers of the nine numeric columns. The detailed information on the most dangerous diseases have been available in current operational reporting to the OIE.
13.7 Again, the OIE publishes animal health data without any logical control creating more and more the mess to confuse importing countries on animal infection occurrence reality in the exporting ones. The data on the same indicators published in the OIE World Animal Health yearbooks are of differrent values than in the OIE WAHID ! The OIE proved to be the world champion in confusing the end-users. It would be better to abolish this information non-sense and go back the the original HANDISTAT I and pre-SPS animal health yearbooks. The main necessary information on animal infection occurrece grades are missing at all !
Example: OIE World Animal Health 2006, pages 313-318, New Zealand 7 pages table (with very small characters): Bovine tuberculosis – “cervidae” as well as “fauna” instead of “+” empty box while in the previous yearbooks was reported their presence. Almost all presented diseases are with symbols “… No information available”. In the part “Diseases absent or never occurred 2006” there are 4 pages (incredible waste!) having no any additional data of information value. Varroosis of honey bees merits attention – reporting its presence and “No information available”; in spite of not knowing this situation the NZ is exporting the bees in the world including in the European Union countries without any reliable guarantee of being free of this and other bee infections.
14.1 Never during the last half a century of the global animal health information system has been converted into an incredible mess confusing all the countries in the world as today !
The OIE after the WTO/SPS has been reforming several times global animal health information system introducing so called “improvements” that de facto were conducing to significantly less and less information on animal infection occurrence and its grades. The structure, indicators, definitions, forms, questionnaires, deliveries systems, timing in data dissemination have been always changed. This has been making impossible to elaborate time series of reported data values and to produce comparative studies of the most important information. In short, it has been created incredible mess deliberately clouding “effectively” the information on exporting countries epizootiological situation avoiding importing countries to elaborate the objective risk and to correctly decide on respective import and identify sanitary conditions. The OIE demonstrated that it is the unique global inter-governmental organization not respecting neither the needs of the paying member country governments nor professional logic, scientific approach nor practical application feasibility and sanitary/economic consequences.
14.2 In the WAHID information system, presented after long three years of missing OIE information on the member country animal infection occurrence, the member country governments cannot find neither necessary reliable information on animal infection occurrence grades nor data on veterinary manpower responsible for international trade in the exporting countries. For international trade and anti-epizootic actions the member countries need from the OIE first of all reliable information on animal infection occurrence, mainly in exporting countries threatening the others?
The OIE WAHID (produced by
14.4 The irresponsible OIE didn’t consider that any change in the information systems requires the member country to produce new questionnaires at all managerial levels, to change existing software and to instruct enormous number of persons and that the new global information system stabilization needs several years and costs a lot of money and work needed for practical anti-epizootic actions.
14.5 This paper reconfirms once again the absolute absence of reliability of the OIE processed information data !!! (This statement is not valid for useful country text information published without any change in the OIE World Animal Health yearbooks – last issue 2004 !).
14.6 Nobody from the OIE is carrying out any professional logical control of the WAHID data (to eliminate nonsense information) before distributing them as international official document to all the countries in the world ! Therefore, all information from the OIE, needed mainly to importing countries, must be understood as not reliable ones !
14.7 If the OIE is not able to provide full true, not distorted and not confusing information on animal diseases’ occurrence necessary for member country governments’ anti-epizootic decisions on effective sanitary import conditions, then better to abolish this “non-information system” and go back to the times of the original HANDISTAT, i.e. before WTO/SPS !
This is obviously other argument for abolishing this dangerous organization or complete replacing the OIE HQs staff by fix-term animal health specialists internationally responsible, professionally competent, independent on any trade lobby, corruption-proof and consistently defending the animal population health in the world.