The Royal Veterinary College has been designated a Food and Agriculture Organisation reference centre in veterinary epidemiology; currently one of only two such centres in the world.

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has been designated a Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reference centre in veterinary epidemiology; currently one of only two such centres in the world and the only one of its kind in the UK.

The RVC has been designated an FAO centre in veterinary epidemiologyAs an FAO reference centre, the RVC will provide specific, independent technical and scientific advice to help the FAO to achieve food security for all, while raising levels of nutrition, improving agricultural productivity, bettering the lives of rural populations and contributing to the growth of the world economy.

The RVC has previously collaborated with the FAO on issues including avian influenza, rinderpest, foot-and-mouth disease and Rift Valley fever. This work is led by Dirk Pfeiffer who heads up the veterinary epidemiology and public health group at the college, as well as the new reference centre.
 
FAO reference centres are designated by the director-general of the FAO on the basis of the institution’s specific capacities and notable achievements, as well as their active involvement in fields of expertise relevant to the work of the FAO.
 
Stuart Reid, principal at the RVC, said: “This recognition by FAO is terrific news as it brings into sharp relief the expertise prof Pfeiffer and his group bring to the global effort towards sustainable food systems and a One Health approach. I am pleased on many levels – for the UK, for the veterinary sector, for the RVC and, as an epidemiologist myself, for our discipline.”

The RVC 's status has been designated by the FAO's director-general“Although it is one of currently only two similar centres worldwide, consistent with the One Health approach, the centre’s activities will be based on a philosophy of collaboration,” said Prof Reid. “We are fortunate to work with many groups in the UK and around the world and this recognition is as much theirs as ours. The RVC is committed to these collaborations as it is only through joint efforts that we will effect real and sustainable change.”

As an FAO reference centre the RVC will, among other activities:

  • Provide advice and expertise on risk-based animal disease surveillance to FAO and FAO member countries;
  • Inform FAO of changes in epidemiologic situations of animal diseases;
  • Assess risks associated with animal diseases and provide advice on appropriate surveillance methods; and
  • Contribute to capacity building programmes in FAO member countries or at a regional level.
Images © Stephen Bond
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