Official Disease Status

Since 1998, the World Organisation for Animal Health has the mandate from the WTO to officially recognise disease-free areas of countries for trade purposes. The procedure for the official recognition of animal health status by WOAH is voluntary and applies currently to six diseases.

Determining disease status

In May 1994, the World Assembly of Delegates of the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) requested the Foot and Mouth Disease and Other Epizootics Commission (re-named later as Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases) to develop a procedure for the official recognition by the WOAH of the foot and mouth disease (FMD) free status of Members.

The procedure has since then been expanded to include the official recognition of animal health status for African horse sickness (AHS), classical swine fever (CSF), contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), peste des petits ruminants (PPR) and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) risk status as well as the endorsement of official control programmes for CBPPFMDPPR and dog-mediated rabies.

Official recognition of animal health status

The official recognition of animal health status of Members is of great significance for international trade and constitutes one of the most important legal links between the WOAH and World Trade Organization (WTO), in the framework of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement), which entered into force in 1995. In 1998, the official agreement between WTO and the WOAH further confirmed the WOAH’s mandate to recognise disease-and pest-free areas based on the SPS Agreement.

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

A Member may either lose or enhance its commercial attractiveness in the eyes of potential or existing importing partners, depending on official recognition of its animal health status. By acquiring and maintaining its official status, a Member also demonstrates transparency and helps to promote animal health and public health worldwide, thereby gaining the trust of its partners and of the international community.

Granting, suspension and recovery of official animal health status are handled in an objective and transparent manner, governed by the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).

SOP for official disease status / Endorsement of control programme applications


SOP for reconfirmation of disease status / Endorsed control programme 


Guidance for CSF reconfirmation

Guidance for PPR reconfirmation

SOP for suspension / Recovery / withdrawal / containment zone 


SOP for the deployment of expert missions


SOP on the establishment of a protection zone in a country or zone having an officially recognised animal health status


SOP for official recognition of non-contiguous territories


Official recognition process provides detailed guidelines for the standards in the disease specific chapters. The guidelines for Members on how to compile documented evidence that supports demonstration of compliance with the requirements on the official status recognition and endorsement of an official control programme described in the Terrestrial Code:

Application for endorsement by the WOAH of an official control programme for dog-mediated rabies

The list of Members with an official control programme for dog-mediated rabies is available here.

Self-declaration of disease freedom

The WOAH offers a procedure for Members to publish their self-declaration of disease freedom in accordance with the provisions of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code or the Aquatic Animal Health Code.

Self-declared Disease Status

Access the information on self-declared animal health status

Learn more