The European Union (EU) is constantly under the threat of introducing new animal diseases in its territory. The changing distribution of arthropod vectors can create the conditions for vector-borne animal diseases to enter and spread across the EU, with variable speed, depending on the epidemiology of each disease.
Several vector-borne diseases (VBDs) and infections have entered or re-entered the EU in recent times (e.g. bluetongue, West Nile fever and Schmallenberg virus) and the introduction routes have not always been identified. The list of vector-borne diseases, including the most relevant zoonoses, which could enter the EU and become endemic could be rather long, and their likely impact vary in significance. Therefore, these hazards need to be identified and ranked in relation to the risk they represent for the EU.
In 2014, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) received a mandate from the European Commission to assess the risk of introduction of new vector-borne diseases and to determine if further measures are needed. If these diseases were to enter the EU, the possible potentially devastating effects need to be evaluated. Current control measures need to be considered when identifying and ranking the documented and likely entry routes into the EU. The outcome of this work will assist the Commission in prioritising the use of resources for preventive actions in the field of animal diseases. A list of vector-borne pathogens was agreed with the EU Commission, for which the risk of entry, transmission, establishment and persistence in the EU needed to be assessed by EFSA.
Flavie was very pleased to contribute to the literature review presented in the data collection for risk assessments on animal health (DACRAH) final report, recently published and freely available via EFSA. Along with co-authors, she provided a systematic compilation of published literature on experimental infections, virus survival, diagnostic, vaccines and treatments concerning VBD agents that present a risk for the EU.