The outbreak was a special agenda item at the meeting, which saw 800 participants representing member countries of the OIE and numerous national and international organisations gather to discuss animal disease threats across the globe.
Director general of China’s Ministry of Agriculture’s veterinary bureau, Zhang Zhonqiu, gave a presentation on the country’s efforts to tackle the AI outbreak at the meeting.
Dr Karin Schwabenbauer, president of the OIE Council and the World Assembly of Delegates, praised China for bringing the outbreak of H7N9 under control in just two months and effectively sharing disease information with the OIE and other international organisations.
She said the country had not only gained experience in implementing animal disease control measures, but had also gathered knowledge that would help the world fight future outbreaks of AI.
“The fight against H7N9 AI in China has won a real victory. We are quite impressed with their smart deployment, targeted policies and efficient counter-measures,” she said.
Two more Chinese laboratories were accredited as OIE-recognised Reference Labs at the meeting. The addition of the Livestock and Poultry Parasitology Lab of Lanzhou Institute of Veterinary Research (LIVR) under the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (CAAS) and the Swine Streptococcosis Diagnosis Lab of Nanjing Agricultural University will bring the total number of OIE Reference Labs in China to 11.
OIE delegates also adopted a new chapter on broiler chickens at the meeting, which included criteria for measuring animal welfare in broiler production systems.
“This new chapter is the culmination of a long-term undertaking, and it has taken OIE Member Countries several years to reach a consensus. It also goes to show that our organisation’s international standards-setting process, based on scientific excellence and democratically adopted standards – one country, one vote – achieves results of worldwide importance,” said Dr Bernard Vallat, director general of the OIE.
A new chapter on rinderpest was also adopted by delegates at the meeting, and a chapter in the OIE Code on responsible use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine was updated.
There were also changes to the official animal health status of several countries, with Bulgaria and Costa Rica recognised as having ‘controlled risk’ status for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), while Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Slovenia and the US were recognised as having a ‘negligible BSE risk’.
New zones in Argentina, Bolivia and Peru were recognised as free from foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and the OIE endorsed Bolivia’s national control programme for FMD. The Assembly also recognised that 59 countries were free of African horse sickness.
Finally, peste des petits ruminants (PPR) and classical swine fever (CSF) were added to the list of diseases for which member countries can apply for official recognition of disease-free status.