PARIS – Member countries of the World Organization for Animal Health (O.I.E.) have mandated the organization to collect, analyze and disseminate prevention and control methods for animal diseases, including those transmissible to humans, while keeping the international community informed in real-time of the disease situation worldwide. Being able to fulfill this mandate relies heavily on the work of the O.I.E’.s worldwide network of 227 reference laboratories and collaborating centers, whose representatives met at the O.I.E. headquarters in Paris June 21 to 23.

“The O.I.E. strongly encourages the networking of knowledge between the experts in its reference laboratories since this is bound to accelerate the improvement of animal health” said Dr. Bernard Vallat, director general of the O.I.E.

An important event for veterinary science, the conference helped to strengthen the worldwide veterinary scientific network by promoting the exchange of information between experts and the networking of their research. It convinced all experts concerned of the need to improve the transparency of their work and results, especially with respect to positive diagnoses of priority diseases listed by the O.I.E. and emerging diseases.

It also helped to improve methods for diagnosing diseases, a crucial step in the surveillance process.

One conference objective was to convince experts from wealthier nations of the need to support laboratories in poor countries, through the O.I.E. twinning program, in particular, which operates between recognized reference laboratories and candidate laboratories in other countries lacking recognized reference laboratories.

The twinning program also helps to reinforce the world veterinary scientific community, to enable all countries to fight against diseases on equal terms and participate in the preparation and adoption of O.I.E. standards. The program already involves more than 30 laboratories and collaborating centers throughout the world.