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Author(s) : M. Éloit

Summary :

It has been 11 years since the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) published a Scientific and Technical Review on bioterrorism, which was entitled ‘Biological disasters of animal origin: The role and preparedness of veterinary and public health services’. Highlights of this issue included an overview and history of biological agent use, details of the threats that were prevalent at the time, a description of the available capabilities/tools to respond to such a threat, and a summary of the requirements/recommendations for ensuring preparedness to address the changing landscape over the next 20 years. Since the 2006 review, much in our world has changed. Although many of the same challenges related to biological agents remain, others have emerged. The world has experienced an increase in social unrest and war, and this has led to increased food insecurity and the displacement of entire populations of people from their homelands. We have witnessed an increase in the occurrence and severity of emerging pathogens (the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, 2014; the Zika virus outbreak in the Americas and Caribbean, 2015), an increase in antimicrobial resistance, and technological advances that have resulted in the ability to more easily produce a genetically engineered biological agent/weapon.

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