Singapore certified free of two contagious animal diseases

The World Organisation for Animal Health has cleared the Republic of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia and peste des petits ruminants - two highly contagious animal diseases that can affect cattle, sheep and goats.
PHOTO: Singapore certified free of two contagious animal diseases

SINGAPORE - Singapore has been certified free of two highly contagious animal diseases that can affect cattle, sheep and goats.

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This was announced by Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan in a blog post on Wednesday.

He wrote: "The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has just certified Singapore as being free of two animal diseases - Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) and Peste des petits ruminants (PPR). Both are highly contagious diseases which can affect animals such as cattle, sheep and goats.

"This comes on top of Singapore already being recognised by OIE as free from other animal diseases, including Rabies, Foot and Mouth Disease and African Horse Sickness.

"These are serious animal diseases as they can devastate the livestock industry. Although Singapore does not have a large livestock industry, we have a significant transhipment and re-export market and being free from such animal diseases is a big plus.

"Moreover, some of these animal diseases are zoonotic, which means that they can jump species and pose an infection risk to humans.

"This is why we maintain high veterinary standards, stay alert to disease outbreaks elsewhere and act on them, when necessary.

"In February, Singapore suspended pork imports from Poland due to detections of African Swine Fever (ASF) there. ASF is a highly contagious haemorrhagic disease of pigs, with a high mortality rate. It is one of the most complex and devastating animal diseases, with no vaccine or treatment available. The virus is hardy and can persist for days in the environment and up to several months in pork products like salami sausages, making it hard to eradicate.

"As Asia is free from ASF, pigs in the region do not have protective antibodies. If introduced, the disease could spread rapidly through pig populations with huge socio-economic impact. While ASF does not pose an infection risk to humans, it could significantly impact our food security. Our transhipment and re-export trade would also be impacted.

"The Polish authorities have acted swiftly to contain the outbreak and have been keeping us informed through regular updates. AVA is working closely with them on a regionalisation approach, to allow for trade to resume from unaffected regions of the country. We are monitoring the situation closely and keeping abreast of international discussions to implement the best measures to safeguard Singapore's food security and animal health status."