The Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP) held a kick off workshop for its regional collaborative project entitled “African Swine Fever (ASF) Regional Public Outreach.” The three-day workshop was held in the Hyatt Yerevan Hotel on February 3-5, 2015. Representatives from Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine were in attendance, as were veterinary epidemiology experts from both the Federal Agriculture Organization (FAO) and SAFOSO (a Swiss consultancy and capacity-building company). The year-long project aims to reach out to farmers, hunters and veterinarians through public media and education campaigns to help the public recognize the signs and symptoms of the disease and to provide education on ways to prevent and mitigate its spread.
During the first day of the workshop, each delegation gave short presentations on the current status of ASF-related activities in their respective countries. On the second day, participants broke into working groups to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the surveillance systems, control programs and research projects employed in their respective country. Afterwards, each country presented their findings, providing all participants the opportunity to define common issues and identify possible solutions. Participants supported the idea of forming a regional joint working group with representatives from each of the four countries involved in the project to ensure cooperation is sustained beyond the end of this one-year project. The workshop concluded with the unveiling of a roadmap for the upcoming year that including goals and timelines. The project teams are planning to hold the second of four planned regional meetings in late March in Kazakhstan.
Armenian Delegation Participating in the Kick off Workshop.
ASF was first identified in Armenia in 2007 and quickly spread to 8 Marzes. During this outbreak, the swine population in Armenia was reduced by 40%. From 2008-2011, additional smaller outbreaks were identified and involved other regions of the country.