Royal Veterinary College named as FAO Reference Centre in Veterinary Epidemiology
5 July 2012
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.
As an FAO Reference Centre the RVC will provide specific, independent technical and scientific advice to help accomplish the FAO's mandate. The FAO's mandate is to achieve food security for all, raising levels of nutrition, improving agricultural productivity, bettering the lives of rural populations and contributing to the growth of the world economy.
Veterinary epidemiology has a significant role to play in supporting this mandate. The study of disease patterns within animal populations can help to improve food security by both anticipating epidemiological changes in animal populations involved in food production and by minimising the impact of disease outbreaks on livestock and local communities.
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 Professor 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.
Professor Stuart Reid, principal at the RVC, said: "This recognition by FAO is terrific news as it brings into sharp relief the expertise Professor 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.”
"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. 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, amongst 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.
Notes for editors
- The Royal Veterinary College is the UK's first and largest veterinary school and a constituent College of the University of London. It also provides support for veterinary and related professions through its three referral hospitals, diagnostic services and continuing professional development courses. www.rvc.ac.uk
To request further information or an interview please contact:
The Royal Veterinary College
Established in 1791, the RVC is the UK’s longest-standing veterinary college—with a proud heritage of innovation in veterinary science, clinical practice and education.