It was organised by NACA with funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and in collaboration with Australian National Quality Assurance Programme (ANQAP) and the Animal Health Laboratory of Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
The workshop was undertaken as a preliminary activity of the whole Regional Proficiency Testing (RPT) Programme, with the following specific objectives:
- To strengthen Asias regional capability to diagnose important aquatic animal diseases that impact on trade, industry sustainability and/or productivity.
- To train participating laboratory personnel in diagnostic standards, and proficiency testing procedures, and to provide technical assistance to improve laboratory performance.
- To establish a laboratory proficiency testing programme that meets regional needs and which can be accessed following completion of the project.
Forty-five participants attended the workshop, representing forty-three aquatic animal disease diagnostic laboratories from thirteen Asia-Pacific countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam).
Dr EM Leano (Coordinator, Aquatic Animal Health Programme, NACA) welcomed all the experts and participants on behalf of NACA Director General, Dr AE Eknath, while Dr. I Ernst (DAFF) gave an overview of the project and purpose of the current workshop. The importance of aquatic animal disease diagnostics in facilitating trade and detection of transboundary diseases was presented by Dr CV Mohan (Manager, Research and Development, NACA). Highlighted in the presentation were the serious diseases affecting cultured fish and shrimps in the region, and new/emerging transboundary diseases (i.e. IMNV and EMS/AHPNS) which are causing severe economic losses in countries where outbreaks have been reported.
Dr HT Myint (OIE Tokyo) elaborated the different OIE standards focusing on diagnostics of important aquatic animal diseases that are present in the region. The detailed procedures on the conduct of the actual RPT were presented by Drs. N. Gudkovs (CSIRO) and S. Warner (ANQAP) where participants were briefed on how the samples will be prepared, distributed and analysed, the results form filled-up, the results sent back to ANQAP, and the summary report sent to all the participating laboratories. Confidentiality of the results submitted and reported was emphasised.
Representatives from each participating country had presented the current capacities of the different laboratories in terms of PCR diagnostics, as well as the list of priority diseases that will be included in the RPT programme.
After a series of discussion facilitated by Dr. M Crane (CSIRO) and nominations from the participants, the following aquatic animal diseases were decided for inclusion in the panel of pathogens that will be used for the four rounds of Regional LPT in the next two years (2013-2014):
- White spot virus (WSV)
- Yellowhead virus (YHV)
- Taura syndrome virus (TSV)
- Infectious myonecrosis virus (IMNV)
- Infectious hypodermal and haematopoietic necrosis virus (IHHNV)
- Megalocytiviruses (RSIV, ISKNV, GIV etc.)
- Nervous necrosis viruses (NNV)
- Koi herpesvirus (CyHV-3)
- Macrobrachium rosenbergii nodavirus (MrNV and XSV)
- Spring viraemia of carp virus (SVCV)
It was noted that not all the diseases included in the list will be sent to all of the participating laboratories during the rounds of testing. Samples to be sent will depend on the list requested by each laboratory based on their current capacity to perform PCR diagnostics for detection of the pathogen(s) involved.
A wrap-up of the two-day workshop was made by Dr I Ernst while Dr E Leano officially closed the meeting.