International workshop for the prevention of vector borne diseases

A cloud of mosquito
A cloud of mosquito

Experts from around the world are gathering in Sardinia for a workshop aimed at creating an international network for the monitoring and surveillance of diseases caused by ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects.

The project, funded by Lancaster University with help from BBSRC, was made possible thanks to a collaboration with researchers from the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Sassari in Sardinia.

It aims to define the state of the art of the main emerging and re-emerging infectious and parasitic diseases that are expanding from the Mediterranean basin to Northern Europe. In addition, the project also aims to create an international observatory for vector-borne diseases surveillance.

International experts from Algeria, Colombia, France, Italy, Pakistan, Northern Ireland, England, Egypt, Israel, South Africa, and Senegal, will work together under the coordination of Dr Luigi Sedda from Lancaster Medical School.

Dr Sedda said: "It is an honour for me to coordinate this international working group in Sardinia, an island that, due to its geographical location and climate, is at the forefront of innovative projects on the surveillance of animal and human diseases transmitted by vectors. I am excited to return to Sardinia for this project and for the fruitful collaboration with Professors Antonio Varcasia and Alberto Alberti at University of Sassari, who made this event possible. It is an important opportunity to find practical solutions for the surveillance of these important diseases."

There are numerous vector-borne diseases that affect Sardinia and the Mediterranean area.Probably the most known by farmers is Bluetongue, but the list is very long and emerging (or potentially emerging) diseases such as Dengue, Hemorrhagic Deer Disease, Usutu, West Nile and Crimea-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever are now a priority for the public health services of European countries and UK.

The event aims to create an international collaboration that plays a crucial role in the prevention and surveillance of zoonoses not only in Sardinia, but in the entire Mediterranean basin. In fact, the network focuses on the prevention of zoonoses on a large scale, identifying potential risks and monitoring their spread in order to provide essential information for the adoption of preventive and timely measures. The multisectoral One Health approach will allow to address zoonoses more effectively, considering the entire ecosystem. Finally, the network will facilitate the exchange of data between the different parties involved. This is essential for a quick and coordinated response in case of outbreaks of zoonotic diseases.

The workshop is from the 3rd to the 6th of June 2024, and is sponsored by the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP), the Italian Society of Parasitology (SOIPA), and the Region Autonomous of Sardinia.

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