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Hot Topic Article: Global transboundry disease politics: The OIE perspective

This interesting review article discusses how the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) lists and de-lists reportable aquatic animal diseases. Many of the listed/reportable disease affect crustaeans and mollusks.


Reviewed in this paper are the steps for listing or de-listing of an aquatic animal disease, the current list of OIE listed aquatic animal diseases, and the reporting requirements for listed diseases by member countries. The current OIE listed aquatic animal diseases includes two diseases of amphibians, nine of fish, seven of mollusks, and eight of crustaceans. Of interest is the difference in importance of the listed diseases in each of the four groups of aquatic animals. In mollusks, parasitic diseases dominate the list, while in fish and crustaceans virus diseases are dominant. Whether a listed disease is due to a virus, fungus, bacterium or a parasite, the occurrence of the disease may adversely affect international trade among trading partners that have, or do not have, the listed disease. By its very nature, the international trade in terrestrial animals and aquatic animals, and their products, is influenced by national and international politics. When the occurrence of an OIE listed or emerging disease becomes an issue between trading partners, trade restrictions may be put in place and disputes are often a consequence. The World Trade Organization named the OIE as the reference body for animal health as it relates to international trade. This action recognized the 88 year history of the work by the OIE in disease control, listing of diseases, the development of the terrestrial and aquatic codes and the diagnostic manuals, and the prompt notification of members by the OIE of the occurrence of listed diseases. The intent of the WTO with this action was likely to minimize disease related trade disputes brought before the WTO.
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