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Upgrading and introduction of sustainable diagnostic tools for the major transboundary diseases of animals in F.Y.R. Of Macedonia

Final Report Summary - TRANSB DIS ANIM MK (Upgrading and introduction of sustainable diagnostic tools for the major transboundary diseases of animals in F.Y.R. of Macedonia)

The EU-funded project TRANSB DIS ANIM MK aimed at strengthening diagnostic methods of four specific animal diseases. The project proposal fell under the Specific Measures in Support of International Cooperation (INCO), FP6-2005-INCO-WBC/SSA-3, coordinated by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Skopje (FVMS), Macedonia. The proposal elaborated diagnostic methods for Avian influenza (AI), Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), Blue tongue (BT) and Classical swine fever (CSF).

The project proposal was comprised of five work packages (WPs), as follows: 1) Overall management; 2) Training of the local participants; 3) Purchasing equipment and implementation of methods in the local laboratories; 4) Proficiency tests for the implemented methods (supervised by the four EU partners); and 5) Workshop for dissemination of the results.

In the WP 2, eight scientists have obtained 9 trainings in total duration of 190 working days. The total costs for the trainings were EUR 21 387, equivalent to an average of EUR 113/day or an average of EUR 2376/training.

During WP 3, the relevant necessary equipment have been purchased and different diagnostic methods upgraded or introduced into the laboratories, including serological, virological (egg inoculation and cell culture) and the most modern molecular methods (conventional PCR, real time PCR and genome sequencing. The total costs of the equipment and reagents for implementation of the diagnostic methods was EUR 127 747.

The project outlined four implemented and upgraded diagnostic methods for AI, FMD, BT, and CSD. Each has its own serological antibody detection kit or kits that rely on specific molecular methods.

During WP 4, the four EU partners (Dr Kurt Handberg, Danish Institute for Food and Veterinary Research, Aarhus, Denmark; Dr Nigel Ferris, Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright, Great Britain; Dr Bernd Haas, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute; Federal Research Institute for Animal Health; Insel Riems Germany and Dr Stefanie Schmeiser, EU Reference Laboratory for CSF; Institute of Virology; Hannover Veterinary School, Hannover; Germany) have visited the new established laboratories and performed an evaluation of the implemented methods.

WP 5: Workshop for dissemination of the results of the project was planned to be performed at the end of month 30 of the project (October 2009). However, due to structural legal changes at the University 'Stt. Cyril and Methodius', we have asked for extension of the project duration. Currently, the extension of the project has been approved, and the final workshop is planned to be held at the end of January 2010. Participants of all the regional countries will be invited to the workshop, together with the EU partners and selected people from the Sixth Framework Programme, FAO, FAO / IAEA Joint Division in Vienna and the employees of the Head Veterinary Office of Macedonia.

The outcomes of the project, have significantly improved the diagnostic capacities for Transboundary diseases (TADs) in the country, in terms of updating the existing technology and implementation of missing technologies in our labs. Of a special importance are molecular methods (real time PCR) which are offering molecular detection of infectious agents, as well as a startup with molecular epidemiology (sequencing) in our laboratory.

As a result of the project TRANSB DIS ANIM MK, the FVMS has succesfully participated in the official, annual ring trials / proficiency tests for FMD, CSF and AI, as well as for Brucellosis (not subject of the project), as a part of supporting the ISO 17025 standard in our laboratory.

It is also important to mention, that the implemented technologies have not only improved the diagnostic capacities for TADs, but also for enzootic diseases which are daily problem in the country and the region, such as brucellosis, Q-fever, chlamidyosis and others.

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