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Vet Ital. 2008 Oct-Dec;44(4):591-9.

The spread of zoonoses and other infectious diseases through the international trade of animals and animal products.

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Mediterranean Zoonoses Control Centre of the World Health Organization, Athens, Greece.


For trade purposes, ever increasing quantities of food animals and animal products that are transported more rapidly than ever before are contributing to the spread of zoonoses and are creating threats on a permanent basis. Most countries in south-eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East are increasing imports of food animals and meat and products of animal origin. They can become potential sources of zoonotic and other infectious diseases if controls are not performed under the most effective conditions. Developing countries with their organisational weakness are particularly vulnerable to fraudulent international trade practices of animals and animal products. To prevent such risks, the World Trade Organization, the World Organisation for Animal Health and their member countries support the measures stipulated in the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement which targets the liberalisation of trade in animals and animal products under specific conditions while protecting public health and national economies. Vigilance must be exercised and appropriate inspection made at points of entry by veterinary and other authorities to ensure the strict implementation of international and national regulations. National legislation, appropriate infrastructures and the respect of international regulations can become barriers to avoid animal trade, contributing to the spread of zoonotic and other infectious diseases.

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