Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission Report



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Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission Report

September 2009

CHAPTER 9.2.

AMERICAN FOULBROOD OF HONEY BEES

Article 9.2.1.



General provisions

For the purposes of this Chapter, American foulbrood is a disease of the larval and pupal stages of the honey bee Apis mellifera and other Apis spp., and occurs in most countries where such bees are kept. Paenibacillus larvae, the causative organism, is a bacterium that can produce over one billion spores in each infected larva. The spores are very long-living and extremely resistant to heat and chemical agents, and only the spores are capable of inducing the disease.

Combs of infected apiaries may show distinctive clinical signs which can allow the disease to be diagnosed in the field. However, subclinical infections are common and require laboratory diagnosis.

For the purposes of the Terrestrial Code, the incubation period for American foulbrood shall be 15 days (not including the wintering period which may vary according to country).

Standards for diagnostic tests are described in the Terrestrial Manual.

When authorising import or transit of other commodities listed in this chapter, Veterinary Authorities should require the conditions prescribed in this chapter relevant to the American foulbrood status of the honey bee population of the exporting country or zone.

Article 9.2.2.



Trade in Safe commodities

When authorising import or transit of the following commodities, Veterinary Authorities should not require any American foulbrood related conditions, regardless of the American foulbrood status of the honey bee population of the exporting country or zone:

1. honey bee semen;

2. honey bee venom.



When authorising import or transit of other commodities listed in this Chapter, Veterinary Authorities should require the conditions prescribed in this Chapter relevant to the American foulbrood status of the honey bee population of the exporting country or zone.

Article 9.2.3.



Determination of the American foulbrood status of a country or zone/compartment

The American foulbrood status of a country or zone/compartment (under study) can only be determined after considering the following criteria:



  1. a risk assessment has been conducted, identifying all potential factors for American foulbrood occurrence and their historic perspective;

2. American foulbrood should be notifiable in the whole country or zone/compartment (under study) and all clinical signs suggestive of American foulbrood should be subjected to field and/or laboratory investigations;

3. an on-going awareness programme should be in place to encourage reporting of all cases suggestive of American foulbrood;

4. the Veterinary Authority or other Competent Authority with responsibility for reporting and control of diseases of honey bees should have current knowledge of, and authority over, all domesticated apiaries in the country.

Article 9.2.4.



Country or zone/compartment (under study) free from American foulbrood

1. Historically free status

A country or zone/compartment (under study) may be considered free from the disease after conducting a risk assessment as referred to in Article 9.2.3. but without formally applying a specific surveillance programme if the country or zone/compartment (under study) complies with the provisions of Chapter 1.4.

2. Free status as a result of an eradication programme

A country or zone/compartment (under study) which does not meet the conditions of point 1 above may be considered free from American foulbrood after conducting a risk assessment as referred to in Article 9.2.3. and when:

a. the Veterinary Authority or other Competent Authority with responsibility for reporting and control of diseases of honey bees has current knowledge of, and authority over, all domesticated apiaries existing in the country or zone/compartment (under study);

b. American foulbrood is notifiable in the whole country or zone /compartment (under study), and any clinical cases suggestive of American foulbrood are subjected to field and/or laboratory investigations;

c. for the 5 years following the last reported isolation of the American foulbrood agent, annual surveys supervised by the Veterinary Authority, with negative results, have been carried out on a representative sample of apiaries in the country or zone/compartment (under study) to provide a confidence level of at least 95% of detecting American foulbrood if at least 1% of the apiaries were infected at a within-apiary prevalence rate of at least 5% of the hives; such surveys may be targeted towards areas with the last reported isolation of the American foulbrood agent;

d. to maintain free status, an annual survey supervised by the Veterinary Authority, with negative results, is carried out on a representative sample of hives in the country or zone/compartment (under study) to indicate that there has been no new isolations; such surveys may be targeted towards areas with a higher likelihood of isolation;

e. (under study) there is no self-sustaining feral population of A. mellifera or other possible host species in the country or zone/compartment (under study);

f. all equipment associated with previously infected apiaries has been sterilised or destroyed;

g. the importation of the commodities listed in this Chapter into the country or zone/compartment (under study) is carried out in conformity with the recommendations of this Chapter.

Article 9.2.5.

Recommendations for the importation of live queen honey bees, worker bees and drones with or without associated brood combs

Veterinary Authorities of importing countries should require the presentation of an international veterinary certificate attesting that the bees come from a country or zone/compartment (under study) officially free from American foulbrood.

Article 9.2.6.



Recommendations for the importation of eggs, larvae and pupae of honey bees

Veterinary Authorities of importing countries should require the presentation of an international veterinary certificate attesting that the products:

1. were sourced from a free country or zone/compartment (under study); or

2. have been isolated from queens in a quarantine station, and all workers which accompanied the queen or a representative sample of eggs or larvae were examined for the presence of P. larvae by bacterial culture or PCR in accordance with the Terrestrial Manual.

Article 9.2.7.



Recommendations for the importation of used equipment associated with beekeeping

Veterinary Authorities of importing countries should require the presentation of an international veterinary certificate attesting that the equipment was sterilised under the supervision of the Veterinary Authority by either immersion in 1% sodium hypochlorite for at least 30 minutes (suitable only for non-porous materials such as plastic and metal), gamma irradiation using a cobalt-60 source at a dose rate of 10 kGy, or processing to ensure the destruction of both bacillary and spore forms of P.  larvae, in conformity with one of the procedures referred to in Chapter X.X. (under study).

Article 9.2.8.



Recommendations for the importation of honey, honey bee-collected pollen, beeswax, propolis and royal jelly

Veterinary Authorities of importing countries officially free from American foulbrood should require the presentation of an international veterinary certificate attesting that the products:

1. were collected in a country or zone/compartment (under study) free from American foulbrood; or



2. have been processed to ensure the destruction of both bacillary and spore forms of P. larvae, in conformity with one of the procedures referred to in Chapter X.X. (under study).


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