From statistics published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and declarations made to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), "it is painfully obvious that bovine tuberculosis (TB) is still a major disease and a cause of concern for a great many countries, as it represents a socioeconomic burden that is costly in terms of human lives and resources. This public health and animal health challenge merits special attention through the prism of a One Health approach," OIE director general Dr. Monique Eloit said in an editorial prepared for OIE's "Panorama" bulletin.
Eloit said OIE is committed to working in partnership with WHO, the U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization and the International Union Against Tuberculosis & Lung Disease to make a significant contribution to improving the situation.
OIE and its partners are working to strengthen the capacity of member countries to combat bovine TB, notably by publishing the "Roadmap for Zoonotic Tuberculosis" and working to ensure that relevant diagnostic tools and technical standards reflect the latest technical advances both in OIE's Terrestrial Animal Health Code and in the Manual of Diagnostic Tests & Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals.
"No, bovine tuberculosis is not a disease of the past, including in developed countries. Yes, we must continue to devote the necessary resources to control or even eradicate it," Eloit said.
There is an urgent need to replace the current international standard bovine tuberculin and establish a reference standard for the development of "second-generation" diagnostic tests, Eloit said, noting that is why OIE supports the international collaboration established with the aim of developing and validating a replacement international standard bovine tuberculin.
OIE also supports the research being undertaken to develop innovative approaches to diagnosis and prevention, in particular through its involvement in the STAR IDAZ platform, Eloit added.
Regarding the challenges with efforts to control bovine and zoonotic TB, Eloit said she "must emphasize once again that national coordination of actions and coherence of programs are preconditions for success. Surveillance, including in wildlife, and the follow-up of notification reports to OIE are also of major importance in combating the disease, as is synergy with the network of OIE Reference Laboratories that provide crucial support."
The current "Panorama" bulletin provides a better understanding of the actions being undertaken by OIE and the way they complement one another, Eloit said.