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FMD Experts to Meet in Melbourne

24 September 2009

AUSTRALIA - The latest developments in Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) research, diagnostics, surveillance and control measures will be discussed at the inaugural international FMD Symposium and Workshop to be held in Melbourne from 12-14 April 2010.

FMD is a highly contagious viral disease of cloven-hoofed animals. The economic cost of an FMD outbreak in Australia has been estimated at between $A2-14 billion.

According to CSIRO’s Dr Wilna Vosloo, an internationally renowned FMD expert and Symposium Organising Committee Chair, the aim of the three-day event is to use science-based information, supported by state-of-the-art technology, to improve Australia’s preparedness to effectively mount a response to an FMD outbreak.

“Sharing information and working with livestock health agencies at the Symposium will assist in enhancing Australia’s preparedness and support the government and industry commitment to protecting Australia’s livestock from FMD,” Dr Vosloo said. “The information will also be relevant to other countries where the disease is a threat.”

A unique feature of the conference is its scenario-based interactive workshop.

“Our workshop will provide researchers, animal health managers, industry and policy makers with an opportunity to be part of a realistic exercise, to question the reason for certain decisions, to provide their views and increase their knowledge of how an FMD emergency response would be carried out in a disease-free setting.

“In particular it will provide an excellent opportunity for livestock industry groups to learn more about FMD and how a response might affect their industries,” Dr Vosloo said.

According to the Director of CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) and Symposium Organising Committee member, Dr Martyn Jeggo, the Symposium ties in well with other FMD activities taking place in Australia and overseas.

“FMD2010 will ensure Australia stays on the front foot – providing us with the opportunity to discuss emergency animal disease responses and the latest developments in research and technology at an international level,” he said.

The Symposium features eminent international speakers and provides a forum for participants to explore the Symposium theme – Integrating Science and Management.

The Symposium and Workshop is being jointly hosted by CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory, Animal Health Australia, Victorian Department of Primary Industries and the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry.


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