Surveillance for Livestock Diseases That Impact Food Security and Food Safety

College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University


Livestock play an important role around the world as a source of food, income, fuel, and fertilizer, and contribute significantly to the food security and nutrition of people in both urban and rural areas. Approximately one billion people in poverty derive their livelihoods from livestock, a sector that in developing countries accounts for more than one-third of the agricultural gross domestic product (GDP). Those in poorer developing countries are more likely to own livestock, live in closer association with their animals, yet also have little in the way of animal disease prevention or control, veterinary care, or disease surveillance. It is from these same developing countries that many new diseases emerge on the global stage. Having efficient national surveillance and monitoring systems for animal diseases and zoonoses in domestic and wild animals is now widely considered essential to understanding and combating diseases that threaten animal/human health and food security, and is a recommendation of this paper. Such systems should be able to rapidly detect diseases early in their emergence and generate reliable information on disease situations within the countries. Surveillance systems are not a “one size fits all” solution for every country, but should be tailored. More emphasis should be placed on establishing such surveillance and reporting systems in poor countries, where the need is greatest and where diseases are most likely to emerge. Additionally, closer collaboration between animal health, human health, and environmental sectors at the country level are needed to accurately identify and address emerging and persistent disease threats. Challenges in developing a surveillance system range from design and funding issues to community concerns and political backing.