CORDIS - EU research results

Network on epizootic disease diagnosis and control

Final Report Summary - EPIZONE (Network on epizootic disease diagnosis and control)

The 'Network on epizootic disease diagnosis and control' (Epizone) played a central role in prevention and control of animal diseases and contributed to limiting both the risks and damage caused by those diseases in the EU and beyond. Current progress in research on epizootic diseases, throughout Europe, is highly fragmented. That's the reason why there is duplication of efforts, the failure to harvest the benefits of shared data and resources, and the synergy of joint knowledge. Thanks to the Epizone network, all available knowledge and experience was shared. Obviously it is far more efficient and cost effective to profit from methodologies, processes, models, and tests developed by others.

Epizone included 19 partners: 17 institutes of veterinary science, health and agronomy; 14 institutes from all over Europe, 2 institutes in China and 1 institute in Turkey, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and 1 small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), Digital Value, for developing the website.

Epizone includes over 300 acknowledged experts in animal diseases. The inclusion of China, Turkey, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and several partners with an excellent network outside the European Union ensure a global dimension. The excellence of the partners in Epizone is demonstrated by the number of reference laboratories involved. All partners together are responsible for 55 OIE, 18 FAO, 12 EU and 4 WHO reference laboratory tasks.

Epizone's fields of interest

Epizone covers all fields of interest concerning epizootic diseases of poultry, swine, fishes, sheep, cattle, horses, and wildlife.

Scientific themes are distinguished on the fields of:

- diagnostics
- intervention strategies
-surveillance and epidemiology
- risk assessment.

Epizone, epicentre of knowledge

Epizone brought scientists together and thereby improves understanding in local situations concerning animal related food production in the various member states.

As a consequence, scientific opinions and recommendations will be internationally based, agreed, and accepted. Epizone intended to function as a platform and provide a think-tank of highly qualified scientists that develop new strategies and tools to face new challenges in the future. Epizone may also have stimulated specific research. Access to different types of databases, and key-experts, methods, reagents, reports etc. can be easily traced via the Epizone website.

Communication as a weapon against outbreaks

To combat animal diseases, speed at all levels and in all aspects is crucial. One of these is communication in order to support others in combating animal diseases by sharing knowledge and experiences. An example demonstrating the need for speed occurred shortly after Epizone's official launch in 2006. Approximately two months later, North-West Europe was hit by bluetongue, an unexpected and new animal disease for this part of Europe. Very quick and direct communication resulted in an effective and very helpful exchange of information to harmonise the control of this outbreak on EU level. Thanks to the Epizone network, fragmented knowledge and experience will be consolidated and shared. This will result in the durable integration of the partners research capacities supported by excellent communication within and outside of the Epizone network.