The AVIS FMD 2002 release brings the program up to date with the OIE Manual and includes many new photographs which can be accessed directly through the Image Library.

Report of First Research Co-ordination Meeting (RCM) of the Co-ordination Research Programme Use of non structural proteins of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) virus to differentiate vaccinated and infected animals (D3.20.20)

Outline of the 2n d Research Coordination Meeting (RCM) of the Coordinated Research Programme The use of non-structural antigens of FMD virus to assess antibodies in vaccinated and infected livestock (D3.20.20) to be held in Geelong, Australia, 4-8 March 2002

By Sophie Morris

Source: The Australian, 9 March 2002

A NEW test for foot-and-mouth disease would allow Australia to vaccinate its livestock and improve its preparedness, according to international experts.

World FMD specialists met this week in Geelong to devise a test for the disease, which has ravaged herds in the United Kingdom and South-East Asia.

The UN-sponsored International Atomic Energy Agency is collaborating with CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory in developing a new diagnostic method.

John Crowther from the Animal Production and Health Division of the Vienna-based IAEA said the three commercial test kits now available were limited in their usefulness because they did not differentiate between vaccinated and infected animals.

The three serum tests could not distinguish between the antibody contained in the vaccine and the antibody produced by the virus.
"If there is an outbreak you are going to want to screen for the disease, and if Australia did decide to vaccinate, it is important to have a test to show that after vaccination the cattle are disease free," Dr Crowther said.

He said the scientists, from 15 countries, would set criteria for a test that could be used around the world to establish a country's status as free from FMD.

This would also help countries recovering after an outbreak to prove their exports were clean.

"We are wanting to develop a test which would allow you to do lots of samples fairly quickly and cheaply," he said.

CSIRO's Harvey Westbury said a new test could be developed within a year which would allow Australia to vaccinate without endangering its FMD-free status.

"Such a test would mean it was possible to control an outbreak and use vaccines rather than opting for mass slaughter of animals, as happened in the United Kingdom," Dr Westbury said.

He said an outbreak in Australia, which had been FMD-free since 1872, could cost the economy more than $28 billion in its first year.

"The losses in terms of exports, jobs and compensation to farmers would be devastating," he said.

New Test from Joint FAO/IAEA Research Can Help Countries Save, Not Slaughter, Cattle Threatened by Foot & Mouth Disease
by L. Wedekind, IAEA Division of Public Information

Controlling Livestock Disease, WorldAtom Feature Story
Press Release, Australian National Animal Health Laboratory
Technical Review of Diagnostics & Vaccines in Controlling FMD [pdf file]
Better Foot & Mouth Test Will Boost Defense, story in The Australian

Breakthrough in diagnostic tests against foot and mouth disease could greatly benefit livestock farms.

More countries stand the chance of protecting, not destroying, livestock threatened by Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), outbreaks of which cost European countries billions of dollars last year. New diagnostic tests developed through global research jointly sponsored by the IAEA and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are enabling veterinarians to differentiate between vaccinated and infected livestock -- a breakthrough that would allow FMD outbreaks to be controlled using vaccines with less reliance on mass slaughter.

It's a big step forward, says Bill Doughty of Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Livestock Industries in Australia, which participated in the global research programme. He says that, right now, the use of vaccines to control an FMD outbreak seriously impedes a country's ability to trade livestock and livestock products. "The world organization for animal health - the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) - requires countries to show that they are free from diseases such as FMD in order to trade internationally," he explains. "Current tests cannot distinguish between animals which have been infected and those which have been vaccinated, so a country using vaccination as a control strategy will be prevented from trading livestock and livestock products."

FMD affects cows, sheep, goats, and pigs, and remains endemic in many developing countries, at a huge cost to agricultural economies Outbreaks of FMD in Europe in 2001 made headlines as one of the biggest agricultural disasters of the past decade. Estimated costs surpassed US $9 billion in the United Kingdom alone, where about four million livestock were slaughtered to prevent FMD from spreading. One reason why the animals were slaughtered was the inability to screen animals and separate vaccinated from infected ones.

"Research we've done changes the picture dramatically," says John Crowther, a scientist of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division's Animal Production and Health Section. "Tests were developed that can clearly single out vaccinated cattle, so that they can be identified as disease free, and protected from slaughter."

The global research programme was started in 1998 by the Joint Division of the FAO and IAEA in Vienna, Austria, with the aim of developing FMD diagnostic tests, based on applications of immunoassays developed through nuclear science. The work linked scientists from the world’s most advanced institutes with those in the developing countries and a number of commercial partners. Their collaborative efforts led to assays that could document the difference between vaccinated from infected animals. Three tests were developed and now are being proposed as candidates for commercial application.

At an international meeting in Australia in early March 2002, scientists from 15 countries in the research programme reviewed results. Meeting at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory, the most advanced laboratory in the world for animal pathogens, they agreed that each of the three assays works effectively. Still needed, they said, is full international validation of the tests, a process expected to be completed over the coming months within the framework of the programme.

Once validated, the tests can move into the marketplace. The next time FMD strikes, countries then can stand ready to control the disease and limit agricultural losses by protecting cattle, rather than resorting to mass slaughter.

IAEA, 28 March 2002