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Launch of the first global early warning system for zoonoses

23 July 2006 90 years of transparency

23 July 2006: The OIE, in collaboration with FAO and WHO, officially launches GLEWS, a global early warning and response system for animal diseases transmissible to humans.

The Global Early Warning and Response System (GLEWS) is aimed at predicting and responding to animal diseases, including zoonoses, throughout the world. Its primary objective is the rapid sharing of disease information, especially information resulting from the active search activity, and improving the transparency of countries with respect to their animal disease situation.
For a reminder

GLEWS targets 25 priority diseases:

  • 18 zoonoses
  • 7 strictly animal diseases

The FAO/OIE/WHO joint initiative GLEWS provides for the collection of epidemiological data by coordinating the health surveillance and early warning systems of:

  • the OIE: WAHIS ;
  • the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO): EMPRES-i;
  • the World Health Organization (WHO): GAR

GLEWS combines the alert and response mechanisms of the three organisations in order to coordinate the verification procedures for diseases worldwide. The three organisations also combine their respective active search mechanisms and verification networks, in line with their mandates, for the information thus identified and they share the results of verification.

The information collected by each organisation is disseminated on the GLEWS electronic platform and analysed jointly to decide on the publication of joint early warning messages and to coordinate the responses of the three organisations. These messages describe the potential effects of the spread of a given animal disease at national, regional and international level and its potential impact on public health.

GLEWS thus provides for better prediction and prevention of animal disease threats, through sharing of information, epidemiological analyses and joint field mission to assess and control outbreaks in animals and humans. This will eventually lead to the development of improved coordinated responses to emergencies.


The new, improved system GLEWS+, which is soon to be implemented, will be faster and more precisely targeted. Improvements include a cross-sectional mechanism for risk assessments and the inclusion of events involving wildlife and the food chain.

For more information
GLEWS+ - The Joint FAO–OIE–WHO Global Early Warning System for health threats and emerging risks at the human–animal–ecosystems interface (2013)

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