Activities related to Emerging Diseases

OIE/JLTA Workshop on Emerging Diseases and Zoonoses held in Tokyo, Japan on 19 June 2003

The OIE/JLTA Workshop on Emerging Diseases and Zoonoses was jointly organised by the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) or World Organisation for Animal Health and the Japan Livestock Technology Association (JLTA) at Iino Hall in Tokyo to update information regarding Emerging Diseases and Zoonoses.

The Workshop was successfully implemented with participation of about 300 people: officers (the majority were veterinarians) from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries including Animal Health Division, Animal Quarantine Services and National Veterinary Assay Laboratory, and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, veterinary officers of 47 prefectural governments including Local Animal Hygiene Service Centres, researchers of the National Institute of Animal Health and veterinarians or livestock people from public organisations in Japan.

Speakers were Prof. Dr Corrie Brown (University of Georgia, USA) who spoke about the importance of emerging diseases to the health of the world and Dr Tomohiko Takasaki (National Institute of Health, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan) who presented his paper on West Nile virus infection.

Dr Teruhide Fujita (OIE Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific) chaired the whole session.

Dr K. Matsubara (Director General of Livestock Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) welcomed participants and reported the Ministry's new policies, i.e. establishing new laws and regulations with more emphasis on food safety and consumer protection (in particular, after the recognition of BSE in the country in September 2001) and preventing the introduction of emerging diseases into the country including the ban of pet animals such as prairie dogs.

Prof. Brown presented her paper on emerging diseases from various angles and stressed the importance of crafting adequate mechanisms for communication and control and preparation to meet the current and future challenges of both animal and human medicine.

Dr Takasaki, who is a medical doctor and who has been involved in research on West Nile virus infection in both USA and Japan (in Japan, only for laboratory work as no case of the disease in the country), reported the disease in the professional fields of epidemiology, diagnosis and comparison of West Nile virus with Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV), as the former is a member of the JEV serocomplex.

Various questions were raised on scientific matters of emerging diseases and the West Nile virus and also on the institutional framework in government authorities for collaboration of disease prevention and control.