Billions of dollars could be saved if governments enhanced the prevention and control of high-impact animal diseases, some of which pose a direct threat to human health, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said. Many other animal diseases have a negative impact on people's livelihoods. Pandemic influenza viruses H5N1 and H1N1, foot-and-mouth disease, Rift Valley fever and rabies are among the more recent disease outbreaks.

Posing new challenges to animal disease prevention and control are land use, ecological dynamics (including climate change) and expanding trade and trade routes, the U.N. agency warned.

Such emerging threats are also related to increased urbanization and strongly growing urban demand for meat, milk and eggs. A rapid increase and intensification in poultry production in East Asia translated into a five-fold increase in duck meat output between 1985 and 2000. In 2008, more than 21 billion animals were produced for food globally, a figure expected to rise by 50% by 2020.

To read the entire article, link here.