Wednesday, 10 May, 2017

 Getting control over, not to speak about eradication of, a transboundary disease takes a lot of effort and continuous collaboration. Animal diseases are not an exception. 
Thus, a wide group of animal health and production specialists from the Balkans, Caucasus and Eastern Europe sit together for a 2-day FAO workshop in Tirana from today, to carry on the discussion on lumpy skin disease (LSD), started in Budapest earlier the year. 
FAO`s regional office for Europe and Central Asia is bringing the cattle disease in focus that reached the continent for the first time less than two years ago. These two days offer an opportunity once again, similarly to past events, for countries to learn from FAO experts and from each other, and to align their approach and policies. 
“The topics covered in Tirana are different,” noted FAO animal health expert Daniel Beltran-Alcrudo. “For example, we will look at the importance of cost-benefit analysis in identifying the most suitable control strategies.”
“Together with representatives of cattle associations, another objective is to discuss the optimal level of communication and collaboration between veterinary services and farmers in disease control. Cattle associations have also expressed their concern about consumers and retailers reluctant buying meat or milk because of unfounded food safety concerns, since the disease is not transmitted to humans,” he added.
FAO is about the finalize a lumpy skin disease field manual for animal health practitioners, which will be translated into Albanian, Serbo-Croatian, Russian and Turkish as well, and distributed to field veterinarians. 
Lumpy skin disease is a virus-borne cattle disease, spreading mostly through vectors, such as mosquitoes, flies, etc. Although it is not lethal to the animal, but related consequences (drop in milk production, damaged hides, fertility problems, secondary bacterial infections and irreversible damage of the skin) can hit the farmer hard.
According to the latest reports on our region, thanks to mass vaccination programs initiated in most affected countries no outbreak has been detected in 2017, except for an isolated outbreak in Corfu, Greece in February 2017. 
In this workshop, veterinary services from several affected and at-risk countries (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kosovo, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine), and cattle associations will participate, along with FAO and external experts.

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