Aquatic Animal Health Code

Contents | Index Chapter 1.1. SECTION 1. Chapter 1.3.

Chapter 1.2.

Criteria for listing aquatic animal diseases

Article 1.2.1.


This chapter describes the criteria for listing diseases in Chapter 1.3. The objective of listing is to support Member Countries' efforts to prevent the transboundary spread of important diseases of aquatic animals through transparent and consistent reporting.

For the diseases listed in accordance with Article 1.2.2., the corresponding disease-specific chapters in the Aquatic Code provide standards for safe international trade in aquatic animals and their products.

The requirements for notification of listed diseases are detailed in Chapter 1.1.

Article 1.2.2.

Criteria for listing an aquatic animal disease

Diseases proposed for listing should meet the relevant criteria as set out in A. Consequences, B. Spread and C. Diagnosis. Therefore, to be listed, a disease should have the following characteristics: 1 or 2 or 3; and 4 or 5; and 6; and 7; and 8. Such proposals should be accompanied by a case definition for the disease under consideration.

No.Criteria for listingExplanatory notes
A. Consequences
 1. The disease has been shown to cause significant production losses at a national or multinational (zonal or regional) level.There is a general pattern that the disease will lead to losses in susceptible species, and that morbidity or mortality are related primarily to the infectious agent and not management or environmental factors. (Morbidity includes, for example, loss of production due to spawning failure.) The direct economic impact of the disease is linked to its morbidity, mortality and effect on product quality.
 2.OrThe disease has been shown to or scientific evidence indicates that it is likely to cause significant morbidity or mortality in wild aquatic animal populations.Wild aquatic animal populations can be populations that are commercially harvested (wild fisheries) and hence are an economic asset. However, the asset could be ecological or environmental in nature, for example, if the population consists of an endangered species of aquatic animal or an aquatic animal potentially endangered by the disease.
 3.OrThe agent is of public health concern. 
And B. Spread
 4. Infectious aetiology of the disease is proven. 
 5.OrAn infectious agent is strongly associated with the disease, but the aetiology is not yet known.Infectious diseases of unknown aetiology can have equally high-risk implications as those diseases where the infectious aetiology is proven. Whilst disease occurrence data are gathered, research should be conducted to elucidate the aetiology of the disease and the results be made available within a reasonable period of time.

No.Criteria for listingExplanatory notes
And B. Spread
 6.AndLikelihood of international spread, including via live aquatic animals, their products or fomites.International trade in aquatic animal species susceptible to the disease exists or is likely to develop and, under international trading practices, the entry and establishment of the disease is likely.
 7.AndSeveral countries or countries with zones may be declared free of the disease based on the general surveillance principles outlined in Chapter 1.4.Free countries/zones could still be protected. Listing of diseases that are ubiquitous or extremely widespread would render notification unfeasible. However, individual countries that run a control programme on such a disease can propose its listing provided they have undertaken a scientific evaluation to support their request. Examples may be the protection of broodstock from widespread diseases, or the protection of the last remaining free zones from a widespread disease.
AndC. Diagnosis
 8. A repeatable and robust means of detection/diagnosis exists.A diagnostic test should be widely available and preferably has undergone a formal standardisation and validation process using routine field samples (See Aquatic Manual.) or a robust case definition is available to clearly identify cases and allow them to be distinguished from other pathologies.

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Contents | Index Chapter 1.1. Chapter 1.3.