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Roger Breeze was the keynote speaker at the Manchester Conference March 14- 16

1. THE DEATH OF DISTANCE - 21st CENTURY REAL TIME EPIDEMIC LIVESTOCK DISEASE SURVEILLANCE, DIAGNOSIS AND RESPONSE

Almost 200 years ago, William Moorcroft, a veterinarian from Lancashire in the employ of the East India Company, was the first westerner since Alexander to penetrate what is now Uzbekistan in expeditions to buy horses from the Emir of Bukhara.

As another veterinarian from Lancashire, Dr Breeze described the chain of 30 laboratories his team is building in Central Asia, including a regional laboratory in Bukhara that will provide real time PCR diagnosis of FMD, Avian influenza etc. and be linked by an electronic disease reporting system to the Chief Veterinarian in Tashkent and to the US.

PCR capability for avian influenza is now in place in the Caucasus and Central Asia, and the Ukrainians have deployed this to the Crimea region to be closer to where the migratory birds arrive.

2. IF WE GIVE THEM THE TOOLS, THEY CAN FINISH THE JOB:

A manifesto for global livestock epidemic disease eradication in our lifetimes.

Since 1999, there have been devastating epidemics of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Taiwan and the United Kingdom - at a total cost of some $40 billion - hog cholera in the Netherlands and Rift valley fever in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, along with lesser outbreaks of FMD in Japan, South Korea, Russia and the European Union: all these countries are normally free of these diseases.

These epidemics were caused by introduction of infected animals or animal products from the many other countries in South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia that are persistently infected with FMD and other dangerous animal diseases, some of which also infect humans.

In these countries, dramatic outbreaks of disease are unusual - instead, insidious infections limit or prevent international trade, sap the animal agricultural economy and contribute to the persistence of hunger and poverty.

These reservoirs of infection also hang like swords of Damocles over the livestock industries, wildlife populations and rural communities of the European Union, Australia, New Zealand and North America that are totally susceptible to accidental or deliberate introduction of disease, as we saw so recently in the United Kingdom.

Yet despite efforts to strengthen inspection and interdiction at national borders and emergency responses internally, the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States are no more secure today from an outbreak of FMD than they were before the recent catastrophes.

And they will not be truly secure until these disease threats have been eradicated or controlled at their sources in South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Developed nation policymakers and their constituencies have not realized that their best defense at home is disease eradication abroad, that the means to eradicate and control these diseases are now available and that disease elimination will spur international trade, reduce poverty and promote economic development over more than half the globe.

This is the moment to persuade North America, the European Union, Australia and New Zealand that their national security and economic interests coincide with those of less-developed nations.

We can protect and improve the health of livestock and the economic security of people all over the world by applying the ingenuity and focus of the private sector to seemingly intractable international animal disease problems of the highest importance for which solutions would have lasting global benefits.

It is in the self-interest and national security of developed nations to assist in global disease eradication to protect their own economies against natural infection and terrorist attacks, to promote economic development and unrestricted trade, to complement new global public health programs and to reduce hunger and poverty.