10/03/17 03:04

OIE Regional Expert Group Meeting for the Control of Avian Influenza in Asia

Sapporo, Japan, 3-5 October 2017

Outbreaks of avian influenza in many Asian countries, including highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) subtypes such as H5N1, H5N2, H5N6, H5N8 have been continuing over the years as well as detection of the highly pathogenic H7N9 subtype in birds in 2017 in China for the first time. These situations impact animal and public health, trade and economy in affected countries and posing threats to other countries as well. In the past many workshops have been organized under the tripartite umbrella jointly with WHO and FAO where human and animal health sectors participated.

Considering that influenza viruses transmissible to humans evolve from time to time, viruses circulating in both domestic and wild animals pose continuous threats not only to animal health but also to human health. Therefore, a workshop bringing together experts from the OIE’s Reference Centres for Avian Influenza from the region apart from the national experts to focus on aspects of animal influenza is being planned to provide a regional platform for discussion on current issues, challenges and progress for the future in tackling influenza in animals.

The workshop is being organised in collaboration with experts from the Hokkaido University, one of the OIE’s leading Reference Laboratories on Influenza along with participation of experts from other OIE’s Reference Laboratories; Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) in Australia; National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory in China; and National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in India.

The objectives of the workshop are to share Member Country updates, including experiences and lessons learned regarding surveillance, prevention and control of animal influenza. The specific objectives of the workshop are:

1) To share epidemiological and scientific information regarding the new highly pathogenic form of serotype H7N9, which has emerged in 2017 and an update on the current situation of avian influenza in wild birds, including recent reports

2) To discuss control measures including enhancement of laboratory capacity and vaccination policy, both current and future use, in the region

3) To provide an update on proficiency testing and laboratory twinning activities in the region.

Apart from learning about the updates on the disease situation and response activities including lessons learned the participants are expected to be updated on the science behind vaccinations in animals and the pros and cons about implementation of vaccination. A possible road map or collaborative activity on laboratory capacity building and networking is also to be outlined as an output from the workshop.