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IP/10/493
Brussels, 4 May 2010
EU strengthens measures to prevent the spread of
Equine Infectious Anaemia from Romania to other
Member States
The EU will strengthen measures taken by the Romanian authorities to
prevent the spread of equine infectious anaemia (EIA) to other Member
States. The decision is based on a Commission proposal that was endorsed
by the Member States during a two-day meeting of the Standing Committee
on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH), which also agreed on a
series of other measures aiming to protect animal and public health in the
EU.
Equine infectious anaemia (EIA) is a viral disease affecting equidae – i.e. mammals
such as horses, donkeys and mules. The disease is endemic to Romania and certain
rules are already in place to prevent its spread via animal movements.
Recent cases of EIA in horses moved from Romania to other Member States and a
published report of a veterinary inspection mission indicated that efforts by
Romanian authorities to control the disease would benefit from further EU measures.
Equidae from Romania will now be transported to other Member States only from
holdings that are certified free of EIA and under a comprehensive and specific
regime, which includes double testing before dispatch.
The new EU rules reinforce traceability and post-arrival control measures in the
Member States of destination. They also allow for a possible future "regionalisation"
of measures within Romania, in those areas where it is demonstrated that the
disease has been successfully eradicated.
During the SCoFCAH meeting, Member States also gave a positive opinion on the
simplification of the identification process of sheep and goats kept in zoos.
The current rules on traceability of animals cater for the tagging of sheep and goats
with electronic and visible identifiers also in zoos. The new rules allow for
derogations and they take into account that these animals belong mostly to wild
species that should be presented in their authentic aspect.
Finally, the Commission also announced plans to create an EU Reference
Laboratory in the area of bee health. Parallel to this, the first ever bee health
training course for officials of Member States under the Better Training for Safer
Food initiative is also starting next week.
In recent years, reports indicated an increased mortality in bees in the EU and
elsewhere. Although this has caused serious concern all over the world, scientific
studies have not yet been able to determine the exact cause or the extent of this
phenomenon. In December 2009, a study by the European Food Safety Authority
(EFSA) recommended that surveillance for bee health needs to be better
coordinated and harmonised at EU level. An EU reference laboratory is expected to
provide scientific and technical support and will guide future EU action to better
protect bees. The new EU lab is expected to become operational in early 2011.