TSE: SURVEILLANCE AND DIAGNOSIS OF ANIMAL PRION DISEASES AND RISK IN FOOD CHAIN

In coherence with WOAH recommendations and the importance to spread new perspectives of “One Health approach”, STOR – REMESA organized its seventh webinar entitled in “ TSE: surveillance and diagnosis of animal prion diseases and risk in food chain,” which marked a significant milestone in promoting networking and exchange of experiences among experts and researchers coming from North Africa, Middle East and South-West Europe. Around 70 participants from all REMESA member countries have been registered to attend the webinar, and were belonging to different audiences including Public Veterinary Officers, Universities, Researchers, and Laboratory experts.

The webinar has begun with a warm welcome from Dr. Guido Ruggero Loria, Scientific Director of STOR, alongside with Dr. Rachid Bouguedour and Dr. Sghaier Soufien from the WOAH – FAO REMESA Secretariat of Tunisia. Moderation duties were expertly handled by Dr. Cristina Casalone and Dr. Noursaid Tligui, who have driven the work to engage and insightful session.

The webinar featured 6 different contributions, presented by the leading experts “Top profile” in this sector: Dr. Cristina Casalone, Dr. Maria Mazza, Dr. Giuseppe Ru, Dr. Gabriele Vaccari, Dr. Abdelkader Amara and Dr. Baaissa Babelhadj. The event provided comprehensive insights into various facets of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs). It commenced with a broad overview, delving into the intricacies of TSEs pathology. From there, discussions advanced towards exploring a spectrum of diagnostic methodologies, ranging from conventional to cutting-edge approaches, aimed at enhancing detection accuracy and efficiency. Additionally, the webinar underscored the critical importance of epidemiological surveillance as a proactive measure against such diseases. Highlighting innovative strategies, such as breeding programs, which emphasized a pivotal role in combating the spread of these pathological conditions. Notably, the event culminated in an enlightening discourse, featuring diagnostic case studies from Tunisia and Algeria, offering invaluable perspectives on regional challenges and advancements in TSEs disease management, particularly in camels.

The webinar is part of a long-term timetable of STOR activities that includes a series of webinars, workshops and training courses scheduled along the year in order to achieve the final objectives of the STOR: strengthening the REMESA scientific network for exchange and connection between countries of North Africa and South Europe, share common standards, establish common guidelines for preventing, monitoring and control of the emerging veterinary risks among REMESA member countries.

Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) are neuro-degenerative diseases that affect the central nervous system in humans and animals. They are progressive diseases always fatal and are caused by a transmissible agent called prion, which is an abnormal form of protein.

TSEs exhibit common characteristics, such as long incubation period, neurological disorders, with degenerative lesions in the CNS, but absence of inflammatory lesions or immune reaction. TSEs comprise several diseases, including classical and atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in
cattle, scrapie in sheep and goats, chronic wasting disease (CWD) in cervids, transmissible mink encephalopathy (TME) in mink, feline spongiform encephalopathy (FSE) in cats, prion disease in dromedary camels and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in human.

This TSE webinar aim to provide participants from REMESA countries with updated notes concerning zoonotic prion diseases, as well as the knowledge and methodologies necessary for implementation of surveillance programs. Additionally, this event has the purpose to deepen topics related to this
disease and to share technical-scientific updates on surveillance and biosafety.

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