Use of Portable PCR for Detection of Novel Avian Influenza Viruses and Simulation Exercise (Table-Top) on Standard Operating Procedures on Response to Novel Avian Influenza Detection, which is being held from 10-12 July 2019 in Luangprabang province

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) in collaboration with the Department of Livestock and Fisheries (DLF), Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is organising a three-day trainingonthe “Use of Portable PCR for Detection of Novel Avian Influenza Viruses and Simulation Exercise (Table-Top) on Standard Operating Procedures on Response to Novel Avian Influenza Detection”, which is being held from 10-12 July 2019 in Luangprabang province, Lao PDR.

This training is being held under the country component of the regional project Evidence-Based Risk Management along the Livestock Production and Market Chain”, which is being implemented with funding support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The training was chaired by Mr. Anouksack Khantiyalat Director General of the Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office (PAFO), with participation of 30 people from different sectors including Dr. Phouvong Phommachanh, Deputy Director of the National Animal Health Laboratory (NAHL), Ms. Chitana Chanthavisouk National Project Director, FAO- Lao PDR, Mr Filip Claes, Ms Aurelie Brioudes, Mr Pairoj Hengsaengchai and Ms Madhur Dhingra, Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases Operations (ECTAD), FAO-RAP, and other key staff from Department of Livestock and Fisheries (DLF), National Animal Health Laboratory (NAHL), Veterinary Division, Legislation Division, Project Steering Committee, Livestock Section of PAFO, district staff of Luangprabang and Pak-Ou districts, live bird market owners, and heads of the three targeted villages of Hadkham, Viengsavan and Xanghai villages.

Commenting on the importance of the training, Mr. Anouksack Khantiyalat DG-PAFO said, “building capacity and improving the understanding of officials in responding to a positive detection of H7N9 Avian Influenza (AI) using portable PCR will help to reduce the risk of introduction and spread of AI. I encourage all participants to actively contribute their views, opinions as well as recommendations in this training in order to ensure timely and effective action in responding to H7N9 threat in Lao PDR”.

The early detection and control of disease is needed to minimize the spread of disease and losses which can adversely affect the food security. Thus, the portable Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) has been used for early detection and early response novel Avian Influenza (AI) introduction It was agreed to pilot this initiative in Luangprabang Province for the detection of novel AI subtype H7N9 only. In addition, the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for response after a positive detection have also been developed.

This training is being organized to enhance the capacity of national, provincial and district staff in the use of portable PCR for rapid detection. To improve the understanding of the endorsed SOPs, a table-top simulation exercise based on a scenario for responding to a positive detection of AI (H7N9) using portable PCR will also be conducted. Furthermore, a detailed discussion on possible cooperation to respond to positive sample detection will also be held.