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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

Wildlife health status: ANSES and the ONCFS reinforce their partnership

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News of 20/01/2014

Marc Mortureux and Jean-Pierre Poly, Directors General of ANSES and the French National Game and Wildlife Bureau (ONCFS) respectively, signed a framework agreement on 17 January 2014 validating their partnership. This collaboration attests to a commitment to taking wildlife into consideration in animal health and public health issues, a necessity demonstrated during the National Consultation on the Health Sector organised in 2010 under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture. This wildlife concern also manifests itself in the text of the new law on the future of farming and forestry, currently under discussion in the French Parliament.  It is within this context that ANSES and the ONCFS have reinforced their partnership.  

Collaboration between the two organisations is not new, and involves surveillance, expert assessment and research in support of the Ministry of Agriculture. For instance, ANSES's Nancy Laboratory for Rabies and Wildlife participates in the operating of the SAGIR(1) network, created under the impetus of the ONCFS and the FNC(2), and which has conducted health surveillance for wild birds and mammals in France for over 40 years.

In addition, the SAGIR network regularly relies on the expertise of ANSES to analyse certain complex animal mortality cases.  For example, the mobilisation of the ONCFS’s and ANSES's networks of experts made it possible to elucidate the mysterious deaths of wild boars which occurred in Ardèche. Using the high-throughput molecular biology platform Identypath of ANSES and several partners, the disease responsible for the deaths was able to be characterised; it is known as œdema disease, and while it affects pigs, it had never before been described in wild boars.  

The partnership between the two organisations has also made it possible to clarify the risks for human health of a severe epidemic of tularemia in the hare population, thanks to an in-depth epidemiological study including research on ticks, a potential vector of transmission of the disease to humans. 

Another subject of joint concern by the two institutions is bovine tuberculosis. It is a priority of the veterinary public health sector for the coming years, with a national action plan for control of the disease renewed in 2012. The Ministry of Agriculture's Sylvatub plan provides monitoring of deer, wild boar, badgers and roe deer, in conjunction with the SAGIR network and various institutional partners. The joint implementation of dedicated studies by the ONCFS and ANSES - which also holds the reference mandate for bovine tuberculosis - and their partners in pilot areas, makes it possible to gain further knowledge of the disease and its modes of transmission between various wild and domestic species. Their common goal is to develop operational recommendations for the management of wildlife and cattle.

The reinforcement of the partnership between ANSES and the ONCFS clearly reflects the commitment of the two organisations to work together on topics of common concern in the areas of animal health and public health. This collaboration will offer new work opportunities, for example jointly conducting targeted studies on the health status of wildlife and the associated zoonotic risks, the reinforcement of surveillance networks, and the monitoring of non-intentional effects of plant protection products on wildlife.




[1]Network for the Surveillance of Wild Birds and Terrestrial Mammals in France

[2]National Federation of Hunters