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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

Scientists are mobilised to step up international cooperation for animal health surveillance

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News of 24/05/2011

24 May 2011

The first edition of the International Conference on Animal Health Surveillance (ICAHS) was held in Lyon from May 17 through 20. Three hundred experts from around the world were present at the conference whose concluding message highlighted the need for strengthened epidemiological surveillance in the area of animal health and heightened global cooperation between scientists and policy makers in order to anticipate and prevent the spread of new emerging pathogens. This policy initiative is fully consistent with the conclusions of the French National consultation on the health sector, and with Minister of agriculture Bruno Le Maire's announcement of the creation of a national epidemiological surveillance platform which will bring together all those involved and in which ANSES will play a pivotal role.

With over 280 participants from 36 countries worldwide, the ICAHS conference was organised by ANSES and AEEMA (1), and was chaired by Australian veterinary epidemiologist Dr. Angus Cameron. The conference was supervised by an international scientific committee with the support of the World Organisation for Animal Health (2), the FAO (3), the OECD (4),The European Union and the European Food Safety Authority (5), as well as by the French, Australian and British authorities and the CIRAD (6).

The goal of the conference was to bring together scientists involved in epidemiological surveillance and those in charge of animal health management in order to boost international cooperation and improve the forecasting and prevention of the spread of new pathogens in the animal production sectors.

The conference was an opportunity to share information concerning the tools and methods used in animal health surveillance in the different countries around the world. The initiatives adopted are fully consistent with the mobilisation implemented in France further to the country's National consultation on the health sector, including the creation of a national epidemiological surveillance platform bringing together all those involved - health authorities, professionals, veterinarians and scientists.

Following on from the success of this first conference, an international follow-up event has been scheduled for three years from now.

(1) Association for the epidemiological study of animal diseases
(2) OIE
(3) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
(4) Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
(5) EFSA
(6) Centre for agricultural research for development

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