On 3 June, ANSES was appointed reference laboratory of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) for foot and mouth disease, a major disease that, due to the direct losses it can engender, requires increased vigilance by health authorities. OIE reference laboratories are appointed to monitor the full range of scientific and technical issues surrounding a specific illness or topic. This 17th international reference mandate is recognition of the quality of the Agency's work and its commitment to animal health.
Foot and mouth disease is one of the most contagious viral animal diseases known. It affects cattle, small ruminants and suids (pigs, boars, etc.). Due to the major socio-economic repercussions caused by the disease, especially in the agricultural sector, foot and mouth disease is one of the main pathologies affecting international trade and production of animal-based foodstuffs as well as food safety and economic development. While this disease is not zoonotic in nature, it is still a major concern for farmers and for health authorities.
ANSES's Maisons-Alfort Laboratory for Animal Health, which was already national reference laboratory for this disease, received the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) reference mandate on 3 June. This mandate is recognition of the quality of its work and its commitment to animal health for over a century.
With this new appointment, ANSES will:
- use OIE-validated diagnostic methods, and promote and communicate them to laboratories worldwide;
- develop reference material according to OIE requirements, and implement and promote the application of OIE standards;
- store biological reference products and all other reagents used for diagnosis and control of foot and mouth disease, and distribute them to the national laboratories of the OIE member States;
- develop, standardise and validate new methods for diagnosing and controlling the disease, in accordance with OIE standards;
- provide diagnostic services and, when needed, supply scientific and technical recommendations on control measures, to the OIE member States;
- collect, process, analyse, publish and disseminate relevant epidemiological data on foot and mouth disease;
- set up and coordinate a network, along with the other OIE reference laboratories holding mandates for foot and mouth disease, and organise inter-laboratory tests on a regular basis to ensure the comparability of results.
Maisons-Alfort Laboratory for Animal Health's work on foot and mouth disease
The Maisons-Alfort Laboratory for Animal Health conducts intense reference and research activity, in association with other organisations. Its work is concentrated on controlling major animal disease epidemics (foot and mouth disease, bluetongue, etc.), bacterial, viral and parasitic zoonoses and emerging infectuous multi-species animal diseases, for which it provides substantial scientific and technical support.
With regard to foot and mouth disease, the laboratory provides general diagnostic services as well as emergency diagnoses for suspected cases of the disease. It also conducts research, expert assessment and scientific and epidemiological intelligence activities, in collaboration with numerous international teams, in order to prevent risks and to improve the management of possible health crises.