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Feed the Future



Livestock Disease Management and Food Safety

Livestock Disease Management and Food Safety supports and strengthens existing One-Health research and training platforms and projects on livestock disease management and animal-source food safety. The focus is on improving surveillance for and conducting multidisciplinary research on priority animal and zoonotic pathogens and diseases in order to reduce disease burdens and to increase ASF safety.

Livestock diseases and pathogens from animal-source food (ASF) pose risks to livestock, humans, and the environment. However, reducing disease is difficult, especially in the absence of effective livestock and foodborne disease surveillance systems and data. Documenting disease occurrence is the critical first step to quantifying potential losses to farmers, the livestock sector, and public health. Using new ways to approach this problem is necessary. Utilizing a One Health approach in conceptualizing the issue, involving diverse grassroots level actors in changing practices, and building a country’s abilities to effectively conduct research and surveillance of disease are examples of new ways to approach the issue. Consequently, ASF value chains will become safer and result in higher production of more nutritious ASF. This will ultimately improve the health of consumers, especially children and infants.

Health of livestock and humans

National public health and veterinary services worldwide are under pressure to formulate, implement, and evaluate new models that can make delivery of health services more efficient and sustainable. In several of the focal countries like Burkina Faso and Ethiopia, private sector veterinarians provide some health services like annual vaccination campaigns that were previously provided by only the public sector. Nevertheless, veterinary services are stretched thin, resulting in increased livestock morbidity and mortality and zoonoses due to insufficient vaccination coverage, excessive distances to veterinary services, counterfeit drugs and vaccines, etc.

The threat and actual spread of diseases can have direct, severe, widespread, disastrous repercussions on the productivity, profitability and existence of livestock systems; the marketability of ASF; the nutrition, health, and incomes of vulnerable livestock keepers; and the export of livestock, livestock products and ASF. Public health services in the focal countries are struggling to control, let alone prevent, the spread of diseases. Mandates are overwhelming relative to available resources, causing frustration and low morale as livestock numbers grow and infectious and zoonotic diseases spread among livestock and humans.


The Livestock Disease Management & Food Safety team is led by Dr. Jorge A. Hernández and Dr. Arie  Havelaar.


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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems

This work was funded in whole or part by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Food Security under Agreement # AID-OAA-L-15-00003 as part of Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. Additional funding was received from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors alone.