The authors analysed the curricula of five veterinary schools in Southeast Asia to determine how successfully they integrate the issues of global animal health and global public health into their programmes. Two schools offer a five-year programme while the remaining three offer a six-year programme. The core courses within the curricula range from 145 to 224 credit hours, in total. In general, world animal health and world public health are well integrated into the veterinary curriculum. Most curricula allocate approximately 3% of their total credit hours to subjects associated with animal and public health, but other subjects that may contain discussions on these issues range between 6% and 10%. Most veterinary schools in Southeast Asia offer a Master's programme in Veterinary Public Health, with detailed emphasis on animal and public health but focusing principally on topics of local importance. At the same time, undergraduate and post-graduate veterinary students are exposed to current issues in animal and public health through regional and international scientific meetings.
Since the first H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) infection in the region in August 2003, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam have all recorded outbreaks of the disease. The HPAIV continues to occur in some countries in Southeast Asia despite control programmes encompassing surveillance, vaccination and stamping out strategies. A number of strains have been circulating in the region since the first outbreaks in 2003, and although the source of the initial outbreaks in domestic poultry is not known, the continuing propagation of disease in the region is primarily the result of the movement of domestic poultry and poultry products, and people. A comprehensive approach using all the strategies available to break the chain of transmission of the virus in poultry will be needed to achieve lasting disease control.
The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) in Malaysia was established in 1888 as an agency to control exotic and domestic animal diseases. Over the years, the structure and functions of the organisation have evolved to meet the growing demand for veterinary services. The responsibilities of the Veterinary Services are enshrined in the Constitution of Malaysia. The current organisation of the DVS is structured to achieve the following objectives:---to prevent, control and eradicate animal and zoonotic diseases--to facilitate the growth and development of a strong animal industry--to ensure that animal products for human consumption are wholesome, clean, safe and suitable to be consumed--to facilitate the growth and development of the animal feed industry--to ensure the welfare and well-being of all animals. To meet these objectives the DVS has nine different divisions, as follows: Planning and Evaluation, Epidemiology and Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Public Health, Research and Development, Industry Development, Production and Development of Genetic Resources, Human Resource Development (HRD), Enforcement, and Administration. The development of the animal industry is managed through national development policies, including the Third National Agriculture Policy. The basis for current programmes for disease control and animal industry development is the Eighth Development Plan (2001-2005). Over the period of this Plan, Malaysia will address the need for sanitary and phytosanitary measures by developing specific programmes covering all fields of the animal industry. This is just one way in which Malaysia is meeting the challenges of the increased liberalisation of trade created by the World Trade Organization and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Free Trade Area. The development of the industry is focused on the major commodities, namely, beef, mutton, poultry meat, eggs, pork and milk. Other commodities receive support if it is considered economically viable. All support services are being strengthened, particularly the HRD division. The organisation and functions of the DVS are constantly being reviewed in accordance with changes in the animal industry and the nature of the services in demand.
Besides response and recovery, prevention and preparedness are the two critical components of any contingency plan. The author discusses the various elements which must be present in the prevention and preparedness plan of countries in Asia. As the continent has such diverse peoples and veterinary infrastructures, the actual plan may vary from one country to another, but must incorporate those elements which are crucial to ensure the success of the preparedness plan.
The author presents reports of foot and mouth disease (FMD) submitted between 1996 and 2001 to the Office International des Epizooties (OIE: World organisation for animal health) Sub-Commission for FMD in South-East Asia. Of the ten countries in South-East Asia, FMD is endemic in seven (Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam) and three are free of the disease (Brunei, Indonesia and Singapore). Part of the Philippines is also recognised internationally as being free of FMD. From 1996 to 2001, serotype O viruses caused outbreaks in all seven of the endemically infected countries. On the mainland, three different type O lineages have been recorded, namely: the South-East Asian (SEA) topotype, the pig-adapted or Cathay topotype and the pan-Asian topotype. Prior to 1999, one group of SEA topotype viruses occurred in the eastern part of the region and another group in the western part. However, in 1999, the pan-Asian lineage was introduced to the region and has become widespread. The Cathay topotype was reported from Vietnam in 1997 and is the only FMD virus currently endemic in the Philippines. Type Asia 1 has never been reported from the Philippines but was reported from all countries on the mainland except Vietnam between 1996 and 2001. Type A virus has not been reported from east of the Mekong River in the past six years and seems to be mainly confined to Thailand with occasional spillover into Malaysia. The distribution and movement of FMD viruses in the region is a reflection of the trade-driven movement of livestock. There is great disparity across the region in the strength and resources of the animal health services and this has a direct impact on FMD control. Regulatory environments are not well developed and enforcement of regulations can be ineffectual. The management of animal movement is quite variable across the region and much market-driven transboundary movement of livestock is unregulated. Formal quarantine approaches are generally not supported by traders or are not available. Vaccination is not used widely as a control tool because of the expense. However, it is applied by the Veterinary Services in Malaysia to control incursions of the disease and there is a mass vaccination programme for large ruminants in Thailand where the Government produces and distributes vaccine. Vaccination is also used by the commercial pig sector, particularly in the Philippines and Thailand.
Since 1954, avian mycoplasmosis has been considered a significant problem in chicken flocks in Japan and in other Asian countries. In Japan, Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) and M. synoviae (MS) infections were confirmed aetiologically in chicken flocks affected with respiratory disease or synovitis in 1962 and 1973, respectively. In other Asian countries, including Indonesia, the People's Republic of China, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taipei China and Thailand, the occurrence of mycoplasmosis in chicken flocks has been recognised serologically or aetiologically. Adverse atmospheric and environmental conditions, in addition to mixed infections of bacterial or viral origin, play an important role in the spread of MG and MS within chicken flocks or in the induction of clinical respiratory mycoplasmosis. Serological tests are important in determining and monitoring the mycoplasmal infection status of chicken flocks. The establishment of mycoplasma-free breeding stocks is recognised as essential for the control of avian mycoplasmosis. To eliminate the transmission of MG to the egg, treatment of infected breeder flocks or their progeny with anti-mycoplasmal antibiotics was effective in considerably reducing the infection rate but not in entirely eliminating MG infection. The preincubation heat treatment of chicken hatching eggs has proved an effective procedure for establishing MG- and MS-free breeding stocks in Japan. Vaccination against MG infection has been practised successfully in Japan and other countries.
Between late 1998 and 1999, the spread of a new disease of pigs, characterized by a pronounced respiratory and neurological syndrome, sometimes accompanied by the sudden death of sows and boars, was recorded in pig farms in peninsular Malaysia. The disease appeared to have a close association with an epidemic of viral encephalitis among workers on pig farms. A previously unrecognised paramyxovirus was later identified from this outbreak; this virus was related to, but distinct from, the Hendra virus discovered in Australia in 1994. The new virus was named 'Nipah' and was confirmed by molecular characterization to be the agent responsible for the disease in both humans and pigs. The name proposed for the new pig disease was 'porcine respiratory and neurological syndrome' (also known as 'porcine respiratory and encephalitis syndrome'), or, in peninsular Malaysia, 'barking pig syndrome'. The authors describe the new disease and provide the epidemiological findings recorded among infected pigs. In addition, the control programmes which were instituted to contain the virus in the national swine herd are outlined.
The author provides an account of the discovery of a previously undescribed disease of horses and a description of the studies involved in determining the aetiology of the disease. The causative virus, now named Hendra virus (HeV), is the reference virus for a proposed new genus within the virus family Paramyxoviridae. The virus is a lethal zoonotic agent able to cause natural disease in humans and horses and experimentally induced disease in cats, guinea-pigs and mice. The virus also naturally infects species of the family Megachiroptera, mainly subclinically, and such animals are the natural host of HeV. The virus appears to transmit readily between species of Megachiroptera, but not readily between horses under natural and experimental conditions, or from horses to humans. The method of transmission from bats to horses is not known. Three incidents of HeV disease in horses have been recorded in Australia--two in 1994 which caused the death of two humans and fifteen horses and one in 1999 which involved the death of a single horse. Hendra virus is related to Nipah virus, the virus that caused disease and mortality in humans, pigs, dogs and cats in Malaysia during 1998 and 1999.
Traceback systems in most countries of Asia are not well developed, as indicated by responses to a questionnaire by veterinary officials in thirteen countries. Marking of animals for traceback is practised only in a limited number of countries in specific areas or zones and for specific purposes only. In Malaysia, traceback has been undertaken by marking farm code tattoos on pigs. This enables the identification of the farm of origin of pigs found to be infected by Nipah virus in sero-surveillance programmes. The origin of the foot and mouth disease (FMD) virus that surfaced in the Republic of Korea in March 2000 was investigated through several epidemiological studies of suspected sources of contamination such as imported hay, yellow sand, milk collection trucks and feed delivery trucks. None of these studies gave results that indicated the origin of the FMD virus. The origin of the FMD virus that was recorded in Japan in March 2000 was also investigated in epidemiological studies; in this case, imported wheat straw was incriminated as the most likely source of infection. Comparative studies of the pathogenicities of FMD (type O) viruses isolated in Taipei China, the Republic of Korea and Japan, suggest that these viruses might have originated as vaccine strains used in a third country.