Pre COSALFA 49th International Seminar. In the context of a free status without vaccination: the goal of the PHEFA 2021-2025: final report (Virtual Seminar - Ecuador, 23-24 August 2022)
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[Introduction] At the end of 2020, the new Action Plan 2021-2025 of the Hemispheric Program for the Eradication of Foot-and- Mouth Disease (PHEFA) was approved, with the intention of achieving the foot-and-mouth disease free status for the whole continent by 2025. Among its specific goals, this action plan of the PHEFA seeks to complete the eradication of the disease in Venezuela, a transition to the official status of free without vaccination in the free countries or zones still using vaccines and maintain the free status in those countries recognized as disease-free without vaccination. Besides the localized risk in the north, with Venezuela as the only country without official recognition of foot- and- mouth disease-free by the WOAH, no outbreaks have been detected in the Region for over 10 years. Undoubtedly, this is a historical milestone never experienced before because since foot-and-mouth fever spread in the Region by the middle of the last century, there has never been such a long period without the occurrence of outbreaks in the entire Southern Cone, which shows the success of monitoring the programs for the eradication of foot-and- mouth disease. The next step is to demonstrate the elimination of the virus in vaccinated populations by suspending systematic vaccination campaigns, as done in Peru and as currently ongoing in Bolivia and Brazil. Since PANAFTOSA/PAHO published the Technical Guide for the Work involved in the Last Phase of PHEFA, in 2015, the subject of the transition to free without vaccination has been addressed in the consecutive Pre-COSALFA seminars. This process has showed that besides the risk, other socioeconomic aspects are binding for decision making and the dialogue between official veterinary services and relevant players of the private sector is essential to advance in this process. In the first session of this Pre-COSALFA seminar, in addition to knowing more details about the foot-and-mouth disease eradication program of Ecuador, the host country of the COSALFA, and its experience since the last outbreak in 2011, we would like to focus on the view “from the other side”, namely, based on a free without vaccination context. Therefore, in session 2, we will present the experiences of countries and zones already free without vaccination and, in session 3, we will learn about laboratory diagnostic tests relevant for that status. On the second day, we will center our attention on emergency preparedness. Session 4 will be focused on emergency response modelling tools, and session 5 will address the subject of regional antigen banks, particularly, the BANVACO.
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