Signature of the framework agreement for the ESA Platform: strengthening epidemiological surveillance in animal health

The signing of the new framework agreement for the Epidemiological Surveillance Platform for Animal Health (ESA Platform) on 20 June 2018 by the Director General for Food in the presence of Roger Genet, Director General of ANSES, and eight other members, signals a new departure for this platform, which has demonstrated its usefulness and effectiveness ever since it was set up in October 2011.

Safeguarding the ESA Platform

The new framework agreement was signed for a ten-year period, leaving the way clear for its development over the medium term. The DGAL has also signed or renewed technical and financial agreements with the other Platform members to safeguard the human resources devoted to this Platform. On 14 March 2017, the DGAL, INRA and ANSES entered into a framework agreement defining their respective roles and commitments in the work of the epidemiological surveillance platforms for animal health, plant health and food-chain safety, with the aim of promoting and contributing to improvements in the effectiveness and efficiency of surveillance in these three areas.

Strengthening the ESA Platform

With this new framework agreement, INRA becomes the tenth member of the ESA Platform, which already included the DGAL, ANSES, GDS France, Coop de France, CIRAD, the ONCFS, the FNC, the SNGTV and Adilva. This scientific contribution will bolster the support already provided by the other scientific agencies that are Platform members (ANSES, CIRAD, the ONCFS), and is complemented by the human resources provided by the other six members.

ANSES, the DGAL and INRA are also joining forces to expand the coordination team.

In total, over the coming months the resources devoted to coordination and cross-functional support will increase from ten to seventeen full-time equivalents, which constitutes a significant strengthening.

New challenges and new issues

Since it was set up in late 2011, the ESA Platform has provided a rapid response to successive health crises: Schmallenberg disease, episodes of highly pathogenic avian influenza, the re-emergence of bluetongue serotype 8 and emergence of bluetongue serotype 4 in mainland France. It has developed an international health monitoring system enabling the timely development of surveillance schemes for health hazards threatening our country (including African swine fever, bovine lumpy skin disease, exotic bluetongue serotypes and the small hive beetle). It has also set up innovative surveillance schemes: the Observatory for Livestock Mortality (OMAR), the Observatory for Honeybee Mortality and Weakening (OMAA), and the Observatory for Monitoring the Causes of Abortion in Ruminants (OSCAR). These new schemes complement the existing surveillance systems, with the aim of developing a global system for integrated monitoring of animal health.

Today, more than twenty health topics are being monitored through the Platform, covering the main health hazards in many production sectors, as well as in wildlife.

The new human resources deployed for the ESA Platform will help it strengthen its efforts in major health topics (e.g. bovine tuberculosis), consolidate the new surveillance schemes (e.g. OMAR) and broaden its scope of activity (e.g. Salmonella in production sectors).