EPIZONE 2015 overview

Published on
December 16, 2015

In 2015 there again was a number of important epizootic disease in Europe to work on with our EPIZONE Research Group. Blue Tongue re-emerged in Europe, Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus were seen in an increasing number of countries in Europe and Avian Influenza returned again.

Blue Tongue
Blue in Europe in 2015 started in Eastern Europe, lateron France was affected, and the virus also, moved into Switzerland and Austria. These new Blue Tongue Virs (BTV) introductions into Europe first involved serotype 4 (in the South) and thereafter serotype 8 in France. Outbreaks in Switzerland and Austria also involved BTV-8. Animal movement restriction zones were installed. Different control options were looked into and it had to be concluded that there was not enough vaccine available to allow large vaccination campaigns. If BTV spreads over more countries in Europe after this winter it may be very difficult to control it.  

Avian influenza
While highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreaks in the United States continue, within Europe we currently experience a serious avian influenza outbreak in South-West France. After a first farm case in Dordogne (H5N9) a number of new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza, were reported in South West France. Again an important challenge for EPIZONE researchers and for epizootic disease preparedness among EPIZONE partner institutes. 

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus
Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus outbreaks are occurring in more countries in Europe. EPIZONE partners are cooperating to optimize and implement PEDV diagnostic methods. It is very important to better control this economically important disease. Improved hygienic measurements and perhaps also vaccination strategies will be needed to prevent further spread over Europe and continuing outbreaks like in the United States.  

Annual Meeting
The EPIZONE annual meeting 2015 was special; for the first time we had a combined meeting with the ESVV. The majority of EPIZONE scientists work on viral diseases and they appreciated to join with ESVV for a meeting in the same venue at the same dates. So the intention is to combine the next ESVV meeting, Vienna 2018, again with the EPIZONE annual meeting 2018. Coming year the (10th) Annual Meeting of EPIZONE will be held in September 2016 in Madrid, Spain, and will be hosted by CISA INIA. 

Prospective partners becoming full partner
All prospective partners who joined EPIZONE in the first year of the establishment of the Research Group in 2015 became full partner of EPIZONE. This means that besides our founding partners we now have 5 additional full partners, nineteen partners in total. Unfortunately our partner institute from China in Lanzhou withdrew from the EPIZONE ERG network. Together the partners of the network renewed the three year term of Wim van der Poel as the EPIZONE ERG coordinator.                       

Into 2016

Horizon 2020 program
EPIZONE partners agreed to work together to produce proposals for the next EU Horizon 2020 call.

On the EU level and in particular the Horizon 2020 program, the EPIZONE management has been

Involved in several meetings in which topics for the H2020 2016 work program were discussed. 

We have participated in a meeting about Avian Influenza at EFSA in Parma in January and a workshop on Biosecurity organized by DG Agri in February in Brussels. In this way we try to contribute to the contents of the new H2020 work programs and we will also try to involve EPIZONE partners in potential proposals as much as possible. EPIZONE also continues to contribute to the research agenda of ERANETs such as ANIWAH and FACCE. 

Short Term Scientific Missions
Also for 2016 EPIZONE has allocated budget for Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs). Especially for Young scientists these STSMs can be very valuable. In 2015 several applications have been awarded and in 2016 there will be even more budget for funded missions. Therefore your coordinator herewith wants to encourage our young scientists to apply for such budget to visit partner institutes and do research with colleagues in your field. 

EPIZONE workshops
In 2016 EPIZONE will organize a course or workshop on ‘Next Generation Sequencing’ and the possibility to organize a workshop on ‘Requirements and new EU regulation for animal experiments’ will be explored. So keep an eye on the EPIZONE website for more information about upcoming workshops and courses!