Foot-and-Mouth Disease: Comparative Analysis of Disease-Free Status with and Without Vaccination, 11 May 2023
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The techinical note of the Pan American Center for foot-and-mouth disease and veterinary public health: Comparative analysis between with and without vaccination statuses is aimed at conducting a comparative analysis between the statuses established by WOAH for foot-and-mouth disease, free with vaccination and free without vaccination, with special focus on the use of systematic vaccination in South American countries. The foot-and-mouth disease vaccine has been a major cornerstone in the fight against the disease since the onset of the PHEFA. At present, the risk of disease is mainly concentrated in the Andean region, particularly in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the bordering region with the Republic of Colombia, which questions the need of maintaining systematic vaccination in the other disease-free countries of South America. The foot-and-mouth disease vaccine is a control tool, but it is not necessary to maintain in the foot-and-mouth disease-free zones as a prevention strategy. Besides, it should be remembered that it only provides protection against vaccine serotypes, while animals remain susceptible to other serotypes. Countries with robust surveillance systems and no cases for a long period of time can progress towards eradication, suspending vaccination and gaining the foot-and-mouth disease-free status without vaccination, as outlined in the PHEFA. Several differences exist between the two statuses, which are translated into two different epidemiological contexts, with different health requirements for trade, as showed in Chart 1. Thus, foot-and-mouth disease-free zones with vaccination require improved surveillance efforts since they should demonstrate the absence of both infection and transmission. Besides, these vaccinated populations are not the end of the eradication process, which is completed by eliminating control measures. These factors result in significant differences in the maintenance costs of the two statuses (Perry et al., 2020). Decision-makers in each country, both of the public and private sectors, should take into account available scientific and technical information to start a planned transition process and achieve disease eradication in their territories. The key to eradicating foot-and-mouth disease in South America has been the collaboration and coordination of countries, orchestrated under the umbrella of the PHEFA. Joint work is essential to achieve eradication in the entire continent. The countries should address the transition to the status of foot-and-mouth disease-free without vaccination in a responsible manner, grounded on available scientific and technical evidence, with transparency in all the involved sectors to seek alternatives that foster progress and ensure sustainability of the progress achieved so far.
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