Recording: Expert Talk with Catherine Machalaba

March 29th 2022 at 14:30 – 15:45 CEST

About this Event

Identifying and reducing human health risks from wildlife trade needs an internationally coordinated and cooperative approach. To this end, the International Alliance against Health Risks in Wildlife Trade serves as an inclusive and interdisciplinary platform to discuss challenges and formulate solutions vis-á-vis human-wildlife interfaces and associated health risks. In moving from immediate crisis management of the ongoing global pandemic towards a more long-term perspective, many have realized that preventing future pandemic outbreaks will need to also address health risks in dealing with wildlife trade and potential spillover, and thus prevention at the source.

During this online session Dr. Catherine Machalaba gave insights into how to operationalize One Health approaches for more coordinated, preventive, and cost-effective systems that promote human, animal, and environmental health given their integral links. She elaborated on entry points, trade-offs and co-benefits when designing effective policy options, including land use changes, wildlife trade and livestock management, and where to start as a feasible minimum that has to be done.

About the Speaker

Catherine Machalaba is the Principal Scientist for Health and Policy at EcoHealth Alliance. She was a lead author of the World Bank Operational Framework for Strengthening Human, Animal and Environmental Public Health Systems at their Interface (“One Health Operational Framework”) published in 2018 to assist countries and donor institutions in implementing One Health approaches. She is active in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), including serving for 10 years as Program Officer for its Species Survival Commission’s Wildlife Health Specialist Group. She is also a member of the One Health High-Level Expert Panel to the FAO, OIE, UNEP, and WHO (OHHLEP). She holds a master’s degree in public health and a PhD in environmental and planetary health sciences. 

This joint statement was published by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and World Health Organization (WHO) on 7th March 2022

As we enter the third year of the pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is spreading between people at an intense level globally. There are many factors that are driving transmission. One of these is the emergence of highly transmissible variants of concern, the latest being Omicron. The virus continues to evolve and the risk of future emergence of variants is high.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is driven by human-to-human transmission, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is also known to infect animal species. Current knowledge indicates that wildlife does not play a significant role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in humans, but spread in animal populations can affect the health of these populations and may facilitate the emergence of new virus variants.

In addition to domestic animals, free-ranging, captive or farmed wild animals such as big cats, minks, ferrets, North American white-tailed deer and great apes have thus far been observed to be infected with SARS-CoV-2. To date, farmed mink and pet hamsters have been shown to be capable of infecting humans with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and a potential case of transmission between white-tailed deer and a human is currently under review.

The introduction of SARS-CoV-2 to wildlife could result in the establishment of animal reservoirs. For example, it has been reported that, approximately one-third of wild white-tailed deer in the United States of America have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, initially via several human-to-deer transmission events. The SARS-CoV-2 lineages detected in white-tailed deer have also been circulating in close-by human populations. White-tailed deer have been shown to shed virus and transmit it between each other.

FAO, OIE and WHO call on all countries to take steps to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission between humans and wildlife with the aim of reducing the risk of variant emergence and for protecting both humans and wildlife. We urge authorities to adopt relevant regulations and disseminate previously released recommendations by FAO, OIE and WHO to (1) people working in close contact with or handling wildlife, including hunters and butchers; and (2) the public.Personnel working closely with wildlife should be trained to implement measures that reduce the risk of transmission between people and between people and animals, using WHO advice on how to protect oneself and prevent the spread of COVID-19, and OIE and FAO guidelines on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and good hygiene practices around animals, including good hygiene practices for hunters and butchers.

Current evidence suggests that humans are not infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus by eating meat. However, hunters should not track animals that appear sick or harvest those that are found dead. Appropriate butchering and food preparing techniques, including proper hygiene practices, can limit transmission of coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, and other zoonotic pathogens.

FAO, OIE and WHO stress that the public should be educated about contact with wildlife. Some wild animals may come close to human settlements and residential areas. As a general precaution, people should not approach or feed wild animals or touch or eat those that are orphaned, sick or found dead (including road kills). Instead, they should contact local wildlife authorities or a wildlife health professional.

It is also crucial to safely dispose of uneaten food, masks, tissues, and any other human waste to avoid attracting wildlife, especially to urban areas and, if possible, keep domestic animals away from wildlife and their droppings.

We furthermore encourage countries’ national animal and human health services to adopt the following measures:

  • Encourage collaboration between national veterinary services and national wildlife authorities, whose partnership is key to promoting animal health and safeguarding human and environmental health.
  • Promote monitoring of wildlife and encourage sampling of wild animals known to be potentially susceptible to SARS-CoV-2.
  • Share all genetic sequence data from animal surveillance studies through publicly available databases.
  • Report confirmed animal cases of SARS-CoV-2 to the OIE through the World Animal Health Information System (OIE-WAHIS).
  • Craft messages about SARS-CoV-2 in animals with care so that inaccurate public perceptions do not negatively impact conservation efforts. No animal found to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 should be abandoned, rejected, or killed without providing justification from a country- or event-specific risk assessment.
  • Suspend the sale of captured live wild mammals in food markets as an emergency measure

Our organizations emphasize the importance of monitoring mammalian wildlife populations for SARS-CoV-2 infection, reporting results to National Veterinary Services (who report these findings to the OIE) and sharing genomic sequencing data on publicly available databases. Countries should also adopt precautions to reduce the risk of establishment of animal reservoirs and potential acceleration of virus evolution in novel hosts, which could lead to the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants. Such measures will preserve the health of precious wildlife as well as humans.

We invite governments and other stakeholders to bring the contents of this joint statement to the attention of competent authorities and all parties concerned.

OIE Webinar “Global Wildlife Health”

Thursday, March 3rd 2022

World Wildlife Day aims to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. In 2022, the OIE will organize a webinar across five regions and in twelve different time zones, connecting wildlife health stakeholders globally. The webinar will be held in two sessions—eastern hemisphere and western hemisphere—and the three official OIE languages (English, French and Spanish).

The OIE is addressing challenges involving wildlife health through implementation of the OIE Wildlife Health Framework. They look to the global community to protect wildlife health to achieve One Health. Towards this goal, the OIE Regional Representation in Asia and the Pacific, in association with the OIE Sub-Regional Representation for Eastern Africa and the OIE Regional Representation for the Americas, are organizing a webinar on “Global wildlife health” on World Wildlife Day in 2022.

OIE invites you to join the event, which will take place on Zoom® with livestreaming on YouTube®. Active participation from the live audience is encouraged.

Thursday 3 March 2022

  • Session 1 (in English and French)
    at 2am Buenos Aires / 6am Paris / 8am Nairobi / 2pm Tokyo  
  • Session 2 (in English, French and Spanish)
    at 11am Buenos Aires / 3pm Paris / 5pm Nairobi / 11pm Tokyo 

Participation

The event is open for participants globally. The target audience will be multi-sectoral participants with an interest in wildlife health. OIE particularly invites university students and young professionals to join the webinar. 

Agenda

Welcome            Dr Lesa Thompson, OIE Regional Representation for Asia and the Pacific, Tokyo

Opening remarks             Special guest speaker

Spotlight on the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)        [Chair: Lesa Thompson]

  • Current and future OIE activities on wildlife
    Dr Keith Hamilton, Preparedness and Resilience Department, OIE headquarters, Paris
  • Global situation of wildlife disease surveillance
    Dr Mariana Delgado, Preparedness and Resilience Department, OIE headquarters, Paris
  • Early detection systems for wildlife
    Dr Yacinthe Guigma, EBO-SURSY, OIE Regional Representation for Africa, Bamako
  • Interactive session          Mentimeter® quiz & participant opinions

Wildlife health globe-trotting      [Chair: Patrick Bastiaensen]

  • Session introduction
    Dr Patrick Bastiaensen, OIE Sub-Regional Representation for Eastern Africa, Nairobi
  • Asia and the Pacific
    Dr Hirofumi Kugita, OIE Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, Tokyo
  • African swine fever in wild pigs in Asia and the Pacific
    Dr Brendan Cowled, Executive Consultant and Director, AusVet, Canberra
  • Middle East
    Dr Ghazi Yehia, OIE Regional Representative for the Middle East, Beirut
  • Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) in wildlife in the Middle East
    Dr Ahmad Al-Majali, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Al Ramtha, ‎Irbid‎
  • Europe
    Dr Budimir Plavsic, OIE Regional Representative for Europe, Moscow
  • Rabies in wildlife in Europe
    Dr. Maxim Sîrbu, National Food Safety Agency, Republic of Moldova, Chișinău

Break

  • Africa
    Dr Karim Tounkara, OIE Regional Representative for Africa, Bamako
  • Anthrax in wildlife in Africa
    Dr Augusta Kivunyza, Kitui County Veterinary Services, Kenya Zoonotic Diseases Unit, Nairobi
  • Americas
    Dr Luis Barcos, OIE Regional Representative for the Americas, Buenos Aires
  • White nose syndrome in the Americas
    Dr Jordi Segers, Scientific Coordinator Bats, Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, Halifax

Ecosystem health and biodiversity     [Chair: Maria-Eugenia Chimenti]

  • Ecosystem health for biodiversity
    Dr Marcela Uhart, University of California Davis, OIE Working Group for Wildlife, Davis
  • Interactive session          Mentimeter® participant opinions & questions for speakers

Closing remarks               Dr Monique Eloit, OIE Director General, OIE headquarters, Paris

Close     Dr Maria-Eugenia Chimenti, OIE Regional Representation for the Americas, Buenos Aires

WILDLIFE DISEASE RISK ANALYSIS: ONLINE TRAINING COURSE

7 March – 29 April 2022

Applications are open for the Wildlife Disease Risk Analysis online training course developed by the IUCN SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group (CPSG). In situations where disease is a direct threat to wildlife species conservation, or wildlife are implicated as a vector or reservoir of disease impacting domestic animals and/or people, a Wildlife Disease Risk Analysis can help decision-makers determine how best to respond. A structured Wildlife Disease Risk Analysis presents an opportunity for multiple stakeholders with varied interests to develop collaborative plans that benefit all those involved and ensure the conservation of threatened wildlife species. The course has been designed to equip participants with an understanding of how to put the IUCN Guidelines for Wildlife Disease Risk Analysis into practice.

More information about the course and course application materials can be found here.

Registration closes on 18 February.

One Health Webinar – Selva Maya GIZ regional programme

February 2nd at 10:00 – 11:30 CST (Mx-GT-BZ)

You are invited to participate in the GIZ regional programme Selva Maya first One Health webinar and discuss with experts from academia and public institutions the importance of disease surveillance and primary prevention.

Recording: Expert Talk with Richard Kock and Hernán Cáceres-Escobar

January 18th at 16:30 – 17:45 CET

About this Event

Identifying and reducing human health risks from wildlife trade needs an internationally coordinated and cooperative approach. To this end, the International Alliance against Health Risks in Wildlife Trade serves as an inclusive and interdisciplinary platform to discuss challenges and formulate solutions vis-á-vis human-wildlife interfaces and associated health risks and the emergence and spread of zoonotic pathogens from wildlife.

During this online session Richard Kock and Hernán Cáceres-Escobar shared their insights from investigating the links between wildlife and the emergence of human infectious zoonoses and EIDs. They are both lead authors of the upcoming “Situation analysis on the roles and risks of wildlife in the emergence of human infectious diseases” by the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC). As member of the Alliance, you may access their “Highlights” in the Alliance’s Library.

About the Speakers

Richard Kock is a wildlife veterinary ecologist, infectious disease researcher and conservationist and was co-chair of the IUCN SSC Wildlife Health Specialist Group (2004-2021). He has worked almost entirely in the field of wildlife health and disease since 1980 with a focus on African and Asian ecosystems. He is on the WHO IHR and OIE Crisis Management Committee expert list, an Associate Research Fellow at Chatham House and past Council Member of the Wildlife Disease Association where he remains active on various task forces and committees, and is an adjunct Professor at Tufts University and Njala University. He holds a chair in Wildlife Health and Emerging Diseases, leading a research portfolio currently of £1.5 million pounds in the fields of wildlife health and zoonosis at the Pathobiology and Population Sciences Department at the Royal Veterinary College.

Hernán Cáceres-Escobar is a veterinarian and conservation scientist. He studies the links between anthropogenic-driven environmental change, biodiversity loss, and emerging infectious diseases. He uses transdisciplinary participatory approaches and modelling techniques to develop innovative evidence-based interventions and policies for an ever-changing world. He has a diverse international background and practical experience working with multi-cultural teams at the interface of science, policy, and practice with local and indigenous communities, government agencies, NGOs, IGOs, industry partners, and academics. In his current position at Sapienza University, he is combining his skills to explore how anthropogenic-driven environmental change affects disease hazards to create future scenarios of risk.

Session Recording

If you missed the presentation, you can find the recorded session here:

Recording: Expert Talk with Craig Stephen

December 6th at 16:30 – 17:45 CET

About this Event

Identifying and reducing human health risks from wildlife trade needs an internationally coordinated and cooperative approach. To this end, the International Alliance against Health Risks in Wildlife Trade serves as an inclusive and interdisciplinary platform to discuss challenges and formulate solutions vis-á-vis human-wildlife interfaces and associated health risks and the emergence and spread of zoonotic pathogens from wildlife.

At this event Dr. Craig Stephen will share his insights from reviewing the evidence how to manage the risk of disease emergence in the wildlife trade. You may download the full review by the World Health Organization (OIE) from the Alliance’s Library. He will speak about how confronting the threat of emerging infectious diseases will require adaptive management that is multifaceted and searches for systemic solutions. One challenge clearly lies in reducing the threat of emerging diseases while concurrently improving health, equity, and well-being for all species.

Speaker

Craig Stephen DVM Phd is a veterinary epidemiologist who has worked in the realms of One Health and EcoHealth for the past 25 years. He is the former Executive Director of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative and currently holds two clinical professorships at the School of Population and Public Health (University of British Columbia) and the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. Most recently, he has become the president of the McEachran Institute, a new think tank dedicated to making animal health professions “future-ready.” He has authored over 200 peer-reviewed and technical papers and has edited or co-edited 5 books related to One Health including; ‘Animals Health and Society; Health Promotion, Harm Reduction and Health Equity in a One Health World’ (CRC Press) , as well as upcoming books on ‘Wildlife Population Health’ (Springer Nature) and ‘Climate Change and Animal Health’ (CRC Press). Craig’s current academic focus is adapting concepts of harm reduction and health promotion for public health to wildlife and environmental health, developing and training One Health and Climate Change leaders, and developing One Health in practice. More information can be found at craigstephenconsulting.com 

Session Recording

If you missed Craig Stephen’s presentation, you can find the recorded session here:

Monitoring white-tailed deer for SARS-CoV-2

This statement was published by the OIE on December 3 2021:

Recent scientific research has shown a high prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection within white-tailed deer populations in North America. This is the first time that the virus has been detected at population levels in wildlife. This discovery requires further research to determine if white-tailed deer could become a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 and to assess other animal or public health implications. As they do not show clinical signs of infection, white-tailed deer should be monitored for the possibility of becoming a silent reservoir.  

While there is currently no evidence of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from white tailed-deer to humans, there appears to have been multiple introductions of the virus into white-tailed deer populations by humans. We encourage countries to raise awareness with both hunters, and those living or working with wildlife, to avoid unnecessary interactions with wildlife and to avoid leaving any human waste or objects in forested areas that may be ingested or touched by deer and other wildlife. 

Despite the broad circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in white-tailed deer populations, the virus does not appear to have significantly mutated. While this lessens concerns for the emergence of new virus strains that may be harmful to humans, more information must be gathered to understand the effects of the virus’ introduction to wildlife on the ecosystem. Therefore, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) calls on countries and other concerned parties to:

Encourage collaboration between national Veterinary Services and national wildlife authorities, whose partnership is key to promoting animal health and safeguarding human and environmental health.

Inform the OIE of current wildlife surveillance and monitoring efforts for SARS-CoV-2, including relevant scientific studies concerning white-tailed deer or other cervids through SARSCoV2@oie.int  

Monitor, and where possible, test cervids populations in all regions to further understand the spread of infection within the while-tailed deer population and among other deer and wildlife species.  

Share all geneticsequence data from animal surveillance studies through publicly available databases. 

Report confirmed animal cases of SARS-CoV-2 to the OIE through World Animal Health Information System (OIE-WAHIS  ).

Additional information : 

– OIE Wildlife Health Framework   

– OIE Guidelines for working with free-ranging wild mammals in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic  

– OIE Guidance on working with farmed animals of species susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2   

– Guidance on SARS-CoV-2 and Free-ranging White-Tailed Deer (U.S Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies)