The importance of animal vaccination has been announced as the theme of this year’s World Veterinary Day, which is set to take place on April 27, 2013.

The importance of animal vaccination has been announced as the theme of this year’s World Veterinary Day.

Set to take place on April 27, 2013, the annual event is organised by the World Veterinary Association (WVA) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The importance of vaccination has been named as the theme of World Veterinary Day on April 27BVA president Peter Jones welcomed the choice of theme, while reminding colleagues of the ongoing threat from viruses such as Schmallenberg and African swine fever.

“The impact vaccines have had on world animal and human health has been immense,” he said.

“Diseases have been greatly reduced and countless lives saved. And, in my lifetime, I have witnessed the eradication of two devastating diseases – smallpox in humans and rinderpest in livestock – brought about through the application of effective vaccination campaigns.”

He added: “Research into vaccine development is vital and I am proud to see British scientists at the forefront of developing a new ‘synthetic’ vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). This new vaccine does not require live virus in its production, so can be produced without expensive biosecurity and does not need to be kept refrigerated. This signals a huge advance in the global campaign to control FMD, and the technology could also impact on how viruses from the same family, including polio, are fought.

“We are constantly exposed to new disease threats. The Schmallenberg virus hit our shores early last year, but we are fortunate that a candidate vaccine is already being considered by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate for authorisation.

“On the other hand, African swine fever is nudging closer to Europe and there is currently no vaccine against this highly contagious vector-borne disease. A worrying thought.”

Meanwhile, Bob Stevenson, the BVA’s representative at the WVA and WVA European councillor, added: “What a timely theme for the WVA and OIE to adopt for World Veterinary Day 2013.

“Following on from the 2012 theme of antimicrobial resistance and the careful use of treatment protocols, what could be more appropriate than to shift the emphasis firmly from treatment to positive prevention? Every day, vets throughout the developed and developing world are planning prevention. Whether cow-side at pasture or in groups with small animal owners, extolling the benefit of prevention over the cost of treatment is what we do.”

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