EuFMD “Open Session” reviews FMD control
The theme of this year’s session is “Appliance of Science in the Progressive Control of FMD”. The meeting is open to the participation of people and organizations involved in the areas of FMD control, laboratory services, research and development, and those attending are predominantly from Europe and its neighbouring regions, but there will also be wider participation from FMD free and endemic countries from other regions.
Open Sessions of the Standing Technical Committee, which is an external panel of expert advisors, have been held every two years to discuss technical issues of major importance to international control of FMD. The Standing Technical Committee has responsibility to provide strategic guidance and advice to the EuFMD on technical issues and to bring attention to new developments important for policy making.
In 2011, EuFMD established a Special Committee on Research (SCR), with 12 elected members. The SCR reviews the technical developments reported at the Open Session important to FMD surveillance and control in the member states and may be commissioned, or propose, studies to the STC. In 2009-12, studies were supported on full genome sequencing, epidemiology in wild boar, telemetry and non-invasive sampling of wild boar, NSP and LPBE diagnostics for SAT viruses, serotype specific PCR assays, software for surveillance design, vaccine effectiveness in the field, and a global survey on FMD Research (supported through the Global Foot-and-Mouth Disease Research Alliance, GFRA). These studies and their findings are included among the many papers to be presented during the Open Sessions.
The Open Sessions have had a history of developing new ideas that are taken up by international organizations. For example, the Session in Erice, Italy, in 2008 introduced the concept of different FMD virus pools as a basis for regional, risk based vaccination and control programmes, and began development of a benchmarking process called the “Progressive Control Pathway (PCP-FMD)” by EuFMD and FAO that has become widely applied as a framework for developing sustainable national programmes.
The PCP-FMD has since 2011 also been a joint tool with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and provides a framework for the Global Strategy for FMD Control launched by FAO and OIE in Bangkok in June 2012. The Strategy has the aim of all endemic countries advancing two PCP Stages in the next 15 years; in other words, at the end of this period, all countries will have at the least a control programme protecting their vulnerable sectors, a major step forward given the scale of populations in which FMD isn’t being addressed and where currently little is known about which FMD viruses are present.
The 2012 Open Session recognizes networking is essential, to develop and spread ideas. It recognizes that science will help FMD control in every part of the affected world.