alexa Wildlife Diseases in the Southern African Development Community

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Wildlife Diseases in the Southern African Development Community

The African continent is endowed with abundant wildlife, which attracts a vast majority of international and national visitors and with them foreign revenue. Eco-tourism therefore remains one of the most significant contributors to the economies of many developing countries in Africa. However, these financial reserves are continuously threatened by the emergence of endemic and/or exotic diseases that compromise both the wildlife and livestock industries of such countries. Livestock farming is a way of living for many people in many African countries especially in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) states and outbreaks of viral disease, whether endemic or exotic, results in the imposition of stringent food-safety regulations by lucrative foreign markets, thus preventing the export of animals and/or animal products from these regions. This paper aims to highlight the specific social and economic consequences on both the SADC regions as well as selected developing countries in the north of Africa, that are imposed by two viral diseases, Foot-and- Mouth Disease (FMD), a devastating disease that affects the livestock industries worldwide and Avian Influenza Virus (AIV), an exotic viral disease of birds, which not only affects the poultry industries globally, but also has the potential of causing a pandemic. The SADC states can greatly enhance its chances of reducing poverty and building rural economies by addressing the strategies that deal specifically with these two wildlife diseases and in doing so, develop necessary policies that will aid in the assessment and prevention of future outbreak situations.

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