Majority of Taiwan on track to be listed foot-and-mouth disease free

The vast majority of Taiwan is expected to be officially recognized by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as a foot-and-mouth disease-free zone this May, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine under the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture announced March 14.

Bureau officials were notified by the OIE that the request for Taiwan proper and the outlying islands of Penghu and Matsu to be recognized as FMD free with the use of vaccinations has been recommended by the OIE Scientific Commission and is awaiting comment by OIE member countries.

The OIE recognizes two status categories for countries and territories in regards to being FMD free�with and without use of vaccinations.

OIE member countries that aim to be officially recognized as FMD free submit a completed questionnaire, which is assessed by the Scientific Commission. Following its initial approval, the application is made available for review to all member countries before a resolution is adopted at the World Assembly of Delegates during the General Session that takes place each May.

Taiwan's initial submission of its application to the OIE in October 2015 was rejected due to concerns over exports from outlying Kinmen County to other areas of Taiwan. In August 2016, the bureau submitted additional evidence to prove Taiwan's FMD controls were in compliance with OIE standards.

According to the BAPHIQ, Kinmen was not included due to two reported FMD cases there in mid-2015. This resulted in increased export controls on certain cloven-hoofed animals from Kinmen to Taiwan proper, Penghu and Matsu.

The BAPHIQ said it will continue to strengthen the nation's efforts on disease prevention as well as work to make Kinmen FMD free with the use of vaccinations under OIE standards. The bureau will also strive to achieve FMD free without vaccinations status for Taiwan proper, Penghu and Matsu in the future.

Taiwan experienced its first case of FMD in 1997, the BAPHIQ said. After implementing vaccination efforts, the nation was recognized as FMD free with the use of vaccination in 2003 by the OIE. However, FMD returned in 2009 and the disease-free status was suspended. Currently, over 90 percent of even-toed cloven-hoofed animals are vaccinated, with over 80 percent of that number effectively immunized, according to the bureau.

Source: Taiwan Today