[ASC-media] CSIRO Media Release - Foot & Mouth Disease

Bill.Stephens at csiro.au Bill.Stephens at csiro.au
Wed Feb 26 17:44:32 EST 2003

27 February 2003
Ref. 03/38
Heightened biosecurity against foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in South-East Asia is the goal of a new project involving 15 countries from Australia to Vietnam.
Enhanced intelligence on the spread of the dreaded livestock disease will be achieved through developing more affordable diagnostic tests and strengthening links between national laboratories, a new regional reference laboratory in Thailand
and the World Reference Laboratory in the UK. 
The project aims to control and ultimately eradicate the disease in the region.
Delegates from the participating countries are meeting at CSIRO Livestock Industries' Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL), in Geelong, this week, to kick off the project.
Dr John Crowther of the Joint Food and Agricultural Organisation/International Atomic Energy Agency - which is funding the project - says the components of diagnostic tests for FMD are too expensive to be extensively used by many countries
in the region.
"The project aims to set up systems for the new regional reference laboratory for FMD in Thailand to manufacture and distribute cheaper diagnostic reagents to other countries in the region.
"This will help build greater levels of knowledge on the location and spread of all strains of the disease," he says.
AAHL Director Dr Martyn Jeggo says Australia stands to benefit from its involvement in the project as improved knowledge on the FMD threat in the region should help to target quarantine resources to keep the disease out.
"As part of the project, CSIRO will assist laboratories in other countries to establish quality controls and a regional proficiency testing program," Dr Jeggo says.
FMD is a highly contagious viral disease of cloven-hoofed animals like pigs, cattle, sheep, goats and deer.
The disease spreads rapidly via contact between animals and is carried by people, transport vehicles, or on the wind.
It has not occurred in Australia since 1872.
The other participating countries are Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
The following organisations are also represented at the meeting: Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer of Australia, Office International des Epizooties (OIE - World Animal Health Organisation), Japan International Cooperation Agency, Food
and Agricultural Organisation and the International Livestock Research Institute.

Media Assistance
Emma Homes, CSIRO AAHL
03 5227 5123

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