A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in March 2014 between the U.S. Embassy’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency integrating contractor in Armenia, CH2MHill, and two entities of RA Ministry of Agriculture to agree on the implementation of the project aimed to examine the status of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the country. The project will be in collaboration with Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and US scientific institutions like the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, US Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service, University of Connecticut and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. The Armenian participants will be from the “Scientific Center for Food Safety Risks Assessment and Analysis” SNCO of State Food Safety Services and Center of Veterinary – Sanitary Food Safety and Phyto-Sanitary Services” SNCO of MoA.
The project will address issues related to animal health, especially those that focus on the capacity building to effectively survey, detect, and report the presence of important animal diseases. This work will provide a foundation of knowledge in order to reduce the number and severity of future animal disease outbreaks in the country.
ASF is a highly contagious viral disease of swine that has significant economic consequences on a country’s swine population. It was successfully eradicated in most of the Eurasian continent almost 30 years ago. However, it emerged in the Caucasus in 2007. Since its introduction into the Republic of Georgia in 2007, ASF Virus (ASFV) has spread across the whole region, affecting swine herds in the Republics of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and migrating north into Russia. Many years after its identification in the region, the virus is still circulating. Unlike most trans-boundary viral infections, there is no vaccine available against ASFV. Therefore, detection and surveillance of infected animals are the only methods to control and eradicate it. This project will obtain the required insights into the circulation and current epidemiological situation of ASF in Armenia, particularly on understanding modes of transmission and persistence in the environment.
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency works collaboratively with the Armenian host government to enhance its disease surveillance system and strengthens its ability to detect human and animal outbreaks.