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Welcome to eMergence – Towards Controlling Transboundary and Emerging Diseases

Welcome to the first edition of eMergence, a new quarterly newsletter from MSD Animal Health which acts as a single site bringing together news and scientific articles on transboundary and emerging diseases.  We believe that this will be a unique resource for you.  It is founded on the philosophy that building a community and sharing information will help us all work towards eradication of these diseases.

Please contact us at ivh@merck.com so your questions and comments can help us develop this newsletter further.

About eMergence

I am pleased to welcome you to the first edition of “eMergence”, our quarterly newsletter collating information on transboundary and emerging diseases from numerous sources.  As well as updating you on recent news events and published articles, we will also focus on key diseases and recent conferences.  Look out for special editions with guest editors in the future, where key opinion leaders will have an opportunity to share their views and advice.  We believe that this newsletter is unique in bringing all this information into one place.

Disease control – a shared responsibility

During the first quarter of the year there have been a number of interesting conferences that we have attended.  Two of these, the Second International Conference on Dog Population Control held in Turkey and the OIE SEACFMD sub-commission meeting in the Philippines, may appear to be at different ends of a spectrum but they both highlight why emerging and transboundary diseases are so important.  Animal health and human health are inextricably linked and need to be controlled together to get the greatest impact.  And if the people at the end of the chain do not understand why vaccination is important, and also why it is only part of the answer, then there is a high risk that associated control programmes will not be sustainable.  Improving education and knowledge is essential in order to reduce and even eradicate these diseases.

To have any chance of disease eradication it is important to work together.  Control of transboundary and emerging diseases is our shared obligation. We are part of the community

As pointed out by Proceso Alcala, Agriculture Secretary for the Philippines, at the SEACFMD meeting, the control of these diseases is a shared obligation among countries.  It is estimated that 1 billion of the most impoverished people in the world live in rural communities, with two thirds of those relying on livestock in order to survive.  To have any chance of disease eradication then it is important to work together with clear targets.  At MSD Animal Health, we would say that this is also a shared obligation for pharmaceutical companies, we are part of the community.  We will continue to develop vaccines that can innovate protection for animals, by route of administration, by offering broader and longer immunity, by speed of response to new diseases, by offering trusted quality and supply.  But vaccines alone will not win the battle, eradication campaigns are multifaceted.  By working with you, and understanding your needs, then we can find real solutions for you by bringing more than just the vaccine.

FMD in Kenya – uncovering epidemiology

We were pleased to see the recent publication of an analysis of FMD disease in Kenya (Epidemiological analysis of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (serotype SAT2) on a large dairy farm in Kenya using regular vaccination, Lyons, N.A., Stärk, K.D.C., van Maanen, C., Thomas, S.L., Chepkwony, E.C., Sangula, A.K., Dulu, T.D., Fine, P.E.M., Acta Tropica, 143 pp. 103 – 111).  This work was done by Nick Lyons, and we were excited to be sponsors of his work in Kenya which is uncovering important information about the epidemiology of the disease.  Some of this was presented during an EuFMD meeting at the end of last year and it stimulated a lot of discussion on quality of vaccines in use.  His work brings out some key messages regarding the use of quality vaccines and the importance of proper vaccination programmes.  Speaking to Nick regarding this study, he said “Although FMD vaccines may perform well in potency tests, this does not necessarily mean that the vaccine will be effective in field conditions, making vaccination effectiveness studies essential to ensure optimal performance.”

I hope that you enjoy this first edition and will come back for more.  If you know other people who will find this summary of activities useful then they can sign up for the newsletter here. We welcome the sharing of information and the building of a community dedicated to the eradication of these diseases, so feel free to contact us at ivh@merck.com with comments or questions that can be included in future editions.

Alasdair King
Director, International Veterinary Health