The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced Monday that they have teamed up to create a new initiative to control the spread of African Swine Fever.

According to a release, pork is the most consumed meat in the world and represents up to 35.5% of global meat consumption. African Swine Fever — a viral disease currently impacting several countries in Africa, Asia, the Pacific and Europe — has a mortality rate of up to 100% in pigs and there is currently no effective vaccine to treat it.

While the disease has not been known to spread to humans, the FAO stated that it has “detrimental impacts on the livelihoods of farmers.”

“Today, 52 countries are affected by African swine fever,” Dr. Matthew Stone, the deputy director for international standards and science for OIE, said in the release. “Amid the difficult situation posed by COVID-19, ASF continues to spread, intensifying the current health and socioeconomic crises.”

The initiative has three goals: to improve the capability of countries to control spread of the virus through international standards, to establish an effective coordination and cooperation framework for the global control of ASF, and to facilitate business continuity to ensure safe production and trade to protect food systems.

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