Science - June 15, 2006

CIDC heads animal disease network

The institute for animal disease control, CIDC-Lelystad, is coordinator of the new Epizone network for animal disease. The network is composed of experts from the FAO, two Chinese one Turkish and fifteen European veterinary institutes in the field of very infectious diseases such as foot-and-mouth, avian influenza and swine fever.

Tuesday 13 June in Brussels was the official start for this new Network of Excellence, which will receive 14 million euros from the EU Sixth Framework Programme. Epizone will be a ‘virtual institute’ for diagnostics, control, epidemiology, surveillance and risk analysis of highly infectious diseases. The aim of the network is to be able to make Europe better prepared for new outbreaks of animal diseases.

In addition to foot-and-mouth disease, avian influenza and classical swine fever, they will also deal with diseases that are less known in northern Europe, such as African swine fever and blue tongue virus in sheep, which is transmitted by midges. About 150 scientists participate in Epizone. The project coordinators are Dr Piet van Rijn of CIDC-Lelystad and Dr Ilaria Capua of the OIE/FAO Reference Laboratory in Italy. / GvM

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