ROME – The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations recently launched a new global animal disease information system called EMPRES-i+ which replaces an earlier version that was first launched in 2004, the agency said.

The upgraded platform’s features include:

  • a cloud-based platform with ability to link to other data platforms from public health, animal health, and environmental sectors. The FAO said this feature will help users to easily access data from other sectors and use information they need for further analysis.
  • advanced data analytics for users to easily identify disease events and trends. It also will help countries to plan disease control approaches and target interventions.
  • forecasting and early warning functions to allow countries to monitor disease spreading and the risk of new outbreaks. From this function, countries will be able to prepare for possible disease outbreaks in advance.

“The new EMPRES-i+ underlines the value of early warning information systems for improving lives and livelihoods,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu. “But this can only be achieved through collective information sharing and early action.”

African swine fever is among the major current animal diseases threatening food security and livelihoods, the FAO noted. The Asian Development Bank said ASF has already inflicted losses of between $55 billion to $130 billion. In July, the swine disease was confirmed in the Dominican Republic, the first detection in the Americas in approximately 40 years.

The FAO expects the new EMPRES-i+ web-based system to better support countries in identifying and mitigating serious animal disease threats, according to Qu.

“We need to prioritize and strengthen the animal health sector,” he said at an event to launch the EMPRES-i+ system. “Strong international and national animal health systems are key to prevent diseases, ensure safe and nutritious food, and protect farmers’ interests.”