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(29.08.2011) With immediate effect the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health (FLI) takes over the function of a Reference Centre of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization FAO for influenza in animals and Newcastle disease.

“This will intensify our cooperation with the FAO and help strengthen our international activities”, explains the President of the FLI, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Thomas C. Mettenleiter. The cooperation is set up for four years and can be extended if assessed positive.

In case of an outbreak or suspected outbreak of avian influenza (“bird flu”), swine influenza or Newcastle disease the FAO Reference Centre at the FLI will perform primary diagnostics and pathogen typing at the request of the affected countries.

Furthermore, it will support the FAO with regard to surveillance and control of these infections as well as to quality assurance of diagnostics and harmonization with other reference laboratories. For this purpose, the FLI will develop and improve the respective diagnostic tests, provide reference materials and evaluate vaccines.

The FLI already acts as Reference Laboratory of the World Organisation for Animal Health OIE for avian influenza (bird flu) and Newcastle disease. Designation as reference centre of the FAO will strengthen the position of the FLI as an internationally renowned competence centre for these important infections of farm poultry.
Newcastle disease is a highly contagious infectious disease of poultry which is caused by the Newcastle disease virus (NDV) and occurs worldwide.

It counts among the notifiable animal diseases. In Germany, vaccination of chickens and turkeys is mandatory.

FAO Reference Centres are appointed by the General Directorate of the FAO and work independently of the FAO.

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