LAHORE - Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD) in cattle & buffaloes and Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) in sheep and goats in the country especially in Central Punjab are not only a constant threat to the livelihoods and food security of the about 35 millions families of farmers and the general public of the region but also a potential threat of banning the exports of animals and animal products of worth $1.3 billion to the middle east and the European Union.

According to the conclusions of the study FMD and PPR are among the top five  most important diseases for the farmers are in variably present in Central Punjab and animal markets and unrestricted free movement in the country are the major means of spread of these diseases across the country.

It was also concluded that participatory disease surveillance technique can be used for generation of reliable data from the animal owners / herder who had traditional knowledge of the infectious diseases in Punjab and can be of value in early detection and response to such diseases of economic importance.

The research paper suggests the policy makers to establish an independent National Epidemiology & Surveillance Unit armed with effective operational sub-national units at province level duly manned with trained epidemiologist, data analyst, statistician, veterinarian, microbiologist and entomologists etc. this arrangement would help in proper disease risk analysis, early detection and response to infectious diseases on regular basis instead of following existing reactive policy after the infection has already occurred.

It also suggests that National and sub-national laboratories should be harmonized in terms of diagnostic tests and standard operating procedures (SOPs) and they should be strengthened in terms of equipments, professionals and capacity building. The researchers has also recommended that both National Epidemiology Unit and diagnostic laboratories should be integrated for effective information sharing regarding timely surveillance of animal diseases and subsequent informed policy and operational level decisions in addition to the integration of private veterinary services with the public veterinary services to improve the disease reporting system for early detection and control of animal diseases in the country.