Symposium highlights need for vets’ vigilance

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The focus of a symposium held late last month by CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) in Geelong was the importance of ongoing training in Emergency Animal Diseases (EAD) preparedness for private and government veterinary practitioners.

Run by AAHL, Australia’s biocontainment laboratory managed and operated by CSIRO, the annual EAD Symposium provides veterinary practitioners, animal health managers, diagnosticians and livestock industry representatives with access to ongoing information and training in EAD preparedness—highlighting recent innovations and challenges in the field.

The theme at this year’s two-day event was emerging diseases, risk and surveillance. In particular, University of Melbourne speaker Professor Mark Stevenson highlighted the need for veterinarians to watch out for signs or suspicions of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).

“A large outbreak of FMD would cost Australia in the order of $52 billion over 10 years. Early detection driven by a vigilant veterinary workforce is the key to ensuring that should an outbreak of FMD occur, it will be small,” said Stevenson.

AAHL deputy director Sam McCullough added: “With the emergence of new diseases, evolving surveillance responsibilities and the development of new diagnostic technologies, it is critical for vets and diagnosticians to receive ongoing training in emergency animal diseases.

“The EAD Symposium is just one way we try to support and encourage this training, providing veterinary practitioners with access to the vital information needed to continually update their knowledge and skills in EAD preparedness.

“This level of vigilance will strengthen our ability to protect Australia from outbreaks of known and unknown potential threats.”

The Emergency Animal Diseases Symposium will be held again next year and attendees are eligible for nine AVA VetEd points. For details visit the website.

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