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Product title :

The role of reference laboratories in animal health programmes in South America

Author(s) : I.E. Bergmann

Summary :

The contribution of the Panamerican Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Centre (PANAFTOSA), as an OIE (World organisation for animal health) regional reference laboratory for the diagnosis of FMD and vesicular stomatitis, and for the control of the FMD vaccine, has been of fundamental importance to the development, implementation and harmonisation of modern laboratory procedures in South America. The significance of the work conducted by PANAFTOSA is particularly obvious when one considers the two pillars on which eradication programmes are based, namely: a well-structured regional laboratory network, and the creation of a system which allows technology and new developments to be transferred to Member Countries as quickly and efficiently as possible. Over the past decade, PANAFTOSA has kept pace with the changing epidemiological situation on the continent, and with developments in the international political and economical situation. This has involved the strengthening of quality policies, and the elaboration and implementation of diagnostic tools that make for more thorough epidemiological analyses. The integration of PANAFTOSA into the network of national laboratories and its cooperation with technical and scientific institutes, universities and the private sector means that local needs can be met, thanks to the design and rapid implementation of methodological tools which are validated using internationally accepted criteria. This collaboration, which ensures harmonisation of laboratory tests and enhances the quality of national Veterinary Services, serves to promote greater equity, a prerequisite for regional eradication strategies and this in turn, helps to increase competitiveness in the region.

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