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Foot and mouth disease simulation in Melb

14 April, 2010

Australia's ability to mount an effective response to a foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak will be tested during the three-day International FMD Symposium and Workshop (FMD2010) held in Melbourne this week.

FMD is the most significant infectious disease affecting cloven-hoofed animals. The economic cost of an FMD outbreak in Australia has been estimated at between 2 and 14 billion dollars.

Internationally renowned FMD expert and symposium organising committee chair, CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory's (AAHL's) Dr Wilna Vosloo, said FMD2010 provides Australia with an opportunity to discuss the latest developments in FMD research, diagnostics, surveillance and control measures.

"This symposium has attracted FMD experts from across the globe and is a chance to ensure we are up to date on this devastating disease," Dr Vosloo said. "Not only do we need to be aware of the latest laboratory research, we need to know where FMD is occurring and how it is being managed globally."

To be attended by more than 250 delegates, a unique feature of FMD2010 is a scenario-based interactive workshop.

"During the workshop we will simulate an outbreak of FMD in Australia, bringing together the delegates' expertise to discuss and debate how we should respond," Dr Vosloo said.

The symposium features international speakers including former CSIRO AAHL scientist Dr Jef Hammond. Now Head of the World Reference Laboratory for FMD at the Institute for Animal Health, U.K, Dr Hammond will give an update on monitoring the emergence and spread of FMD globally.

Other speakers include: World Organisation for Animal Health's Sub-Regional Representation for South East Asia Dr Ronello Abila, Pan American FMD Center's Dr Victor Saraiva, US Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service's Dr Luis Rodriguez and Global FMD Research Alliance Leader/Coordinator for 2009/2010 Dr Bryan Charleston.

According to AAHL Director Dr Martyn Jeggo FMD2010 will enable Australia to learn from the very best.

"At FMD2010 we will discuss the latest developments in research, technology and emergency animal disease responses at an international level," Dr Jeggo said.

FMD2010 is jointly hosted by CSIRO's AAHL, the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry, Animal Health Australia and the Victorian Department of Primary Industries.

Source: CSIRO

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