5th Annual Meeting, the Netherlands 2011

From 11-14 April, the 5th Annual Meeting EPIZONE, was held in Arnhem, The Netherlands. This meeting names "science on alert' was hosted by the Central Veterinary Institute in Lelystad.

Around 310 scientists, people from the industry and policy makers attended this meeting, representing 25 countries. You may find the complete abstract book under downloads.

With over 200 submitted abstracts, of which 54 were selected for an oral presentation, a wide range of scientists presented their research. With a welcome session on "How veterinary research relates to animal health policies", 4 Keynote speakers and a Bluetongue and other vector borne diseases symposium, a programme filled with outstanding work. Throughout the conference there was plenty of time to review and discuss the posters and to network. You may find the complete programme here.

11 April

The first day of the meeting, Monday, a range of work package meetings were held. Young EPIZONE presented a full day programme with the workshops scientific paper review, abstract writing, oral presentations and poster presentations (twice). They also played the new game EPIZOotic, where all players have to work together to fight 4 animal diseases. In total, the Young EPIZONE meeting attracted 59 young (and slightly older) scientists from within and outside EPIZONE.

12 April

The morning started with a welcome from Dr. Christianne Bruschke, Chief Veterinary Officer of The Netherlands, followed by the special session "How veterinary research relates to animal health policies". Chair of this session was Professor Ludo Hellebrekers, Chair of the Royal Netherlands Veterinary Association and Professor at the University of Utrecht. Invited speakers were: Dr. Pascal Hudelet, Mérial; Dr. Elisabeth Erlacher-Vindel, OIE; Dr. Filip Claes, FAO and Sanna Mesman, DG-Sanco.  The presentations were concluded by a case study and panel discussion and participants were able to ask questions.

The afternoon programme started with the keynote lecture from Professor Alexei D. Zaberezhny, Ivanovsky Institute of Virology, Moscow. His lecture entitled "Current situation and methods of control of African swine fever" started with a clear sketch of the geographical situation in the Caucacus Mountains: 'In the spring of 2007 the ASF was detected inCaucasusregion. Same virus was detected in Georgia, Armenia, Azerbadjan, and Russia. The ASF circulating in the Caucasus and theRussian Federationis a highly virulent virus. Domestic pigs play an important role in ASF spread as they transfer the virus to wild boars. Occasionally, the disease is spread from wild to domestic pigs. There is no evidence of ticks being involved in the process. Thus, human activity in raising pigs is largely responsible for continuous spread of the disease'. Read more...

The keynote lecture was followed by two parallel sessions, concerning the EPIZONE themes 4 Diagnostics and theme 6 Surveillance and epidemiology. Besides the oral presentations Theme leader theme 4, Marting Beer presented 'Highlights of five year international collaboration on diagnostics'. Theme leader theme 6, Claes Enøe presented 'Highlights from five years of international collaboration on surveillance and epidemiology'.

13 April

Professor Jim Maclachlan, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California began the morning with a keynote entitled 'The History and Global Epidemiology of Bluetongue Virus Infection'.  '….It is now evident that BTV infection is endemic on all continents exceptAntarctica, coincident with the distribution of competent Culicoides insect vectors. Climate change has been incriminated as the cause of the remarkable recent expansion of the virus' global range, notably in Europe'. Read more...

After the keynote lecture the morning continued with oral presentations concerning the EPIZONE theme 5 Intervention Strategies and theme 7 Risk Assessment. Besides the oral presentations theme leader theme 5, Marie-Frédérique LE POTIER presented 'Highlights of five years international collaboration on intervention strategies'. Theme leader theme 7, Louise Kelly presented 'Highlights of five year international collaboration on risk assessment'.

During lunch, the best posters displayed at the EPIZONE Annual Meeting were rewarded with a prize of € 250,- each. The PhD poster prizes were sponsored by Merial, the general poster prizes by Ingenasa. 

Young EPIZONE elected all prize winners:

  • Helena Ferrera Excretion patterns in ASF: a quantitative approach
  • Carine Holz Original modifications of peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV) genome induced by RNA interference (RNAi)
  • Alessandro Cristalli Avian Influenza of the Moeyingyi Wetland of The Union of Myanmar: Findings of and epidemiological study
  • Tom Willems Alternatives for in vivo Foot-and-Mouth disease vaccine potency tests: serotype dependency of the in vitro vaccine potency models

Dr Lyle Petersen started the satellite symposium with his lecture entitled:'Global emergence of viral vector-borne diseases - why now?.  'The past three decades have witnessed a dramatic geographic expansion and increase in human incidence of many viral vector-borne diseases, most notably expansion of West Nile virus throughout the Americas, Japanese encephalitis virus in western parts of Asia, and Chikungunya virus in Africa, the Indian Ocean region….' Read more... 

The lecture was followed by parallel oral presentations on bluetongue and other vector borne diseases.

After the parallel oral presentations and a 'small bite' break in the late afternoon the satellite symposium continued with the keynote lecture ofDr. Piet van Rijn, 'EPIZONE and the BTV-8 episode, remarkable timing and opportunities!!''…..The episode of BTV-8 has shown that unfortunate introduction of a vector-borne disease in N-W Europe could result in a huge outbreak with enormous impact on the economics and society. It seems to be that vaccination is the most effective measure to control this vector-borne disease'. Read more....

The lecture was followed by parallel oral presentations on bluetongue and other vector borne diseases.

The satellite symposium was closed byProfessor Peter Mertens, Institute for Animal Health, United Kingdom, with the lecture entitled:'Lessons learned'. He gave a historical overview of the bluetongue epidemiology and control worldwide.

14 April

The Annual meeting ended with a Coordinating Forum (CF) meeting on 14th April.