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SRTSENETWORK
European network for surveillance and control of TSE in small ruminants: With emphasis on epidemiology, pathology and diagnostic tests

The purposes of this project are to build a long-term sustainable network for the creation and dissemination of knowledge, which will lead to a better understanding and control of SR-TSE, and an integration of research efforts at the European level. Twenty-nine institutes from nineteen countries, including newly Associated States will participate. There will be meetings on specific themes twice yearly at which experts will gather. This will be complemented by continuous work packages on specific themes, which will run throughout the project, and exchange trips to pursue collaborative work. The information created will strengthen the small-ruminant TSE research infrastructure and facilitate coordination of research throughout Europe.

Objectives
The objective of the project is to share, create and disseminate knowledge about small-ruminant TSE through the development of effective communication channels and links; this will facilitate the effective coordination and integration of European-wide research and control efforts. The network developed will be multi-disciplinary and cut across the whole of the European Union and beyond, which will ensure that the full-range of expertise is involved, and that the knowledge gained will be shared with the widest possible range of interested stakeholders.
The network will be sustainable in the long term, which will facilitate the continuing exchange of information and maximise the advances made in the understanding and control of small-ruminant TSE.
The following areas will be focused on:
1) epidemio-surveillance
2) transmission and maintenance
3) pathogenesis and development of diagnostic tests
4) integration of risk analysis into control and surveillance activities
5) rational development of control methods to take account of new knowledge and circumstances
6) advanced epidemiological methods (e.g. mathematical modelling and risk analysis) will be incorporated into the work package structure to ensure the effective application of these techniques into research, surveillance and control methods.
All these subject areas are related and will be considered in all the work packages in order to achieve an integrated and multi-disciplinary approach.
The project will circulate the information shared and created to all interested stakeholders, which includes governmental and research bodies, the public, within the EU and beyond.

Progress to Date
Work Package 1 has been completed. Work is continuing in Work Packages 9-12, which includes the development of www.srtse.net

Results
The small ruminant TSE (SRTSE) network has held scientific meetings twice each year, which have addressed the over-arching themes and emergent issues, such as atypical scrapie. The meetings have been very successful and have been strengthened by the presence of non-members from new member and candidate countries as well as governmental bodies from all over the EU.

The willingness of the scientists to share information is most notable, and there has been a real sense of excitement that we have been able to bring together so many experts at the front of a rapidly changing and high profile field. any lessons have been learned about the how to manage such networks successfully. These will be reported more fully in the final report of the project.

The network has been consulted by colleagues at the European Commission after the detection of BSE in a goat in late 2004. More recently, scientists from the SRTSE network have worked with colleagues from DG SANCO to provide advice on the Commission's collation of TSE surveillance data.

The SRTSE network project will end in September 2006. In preparation for this there has been co-operation throughout the life of the network to integrate activities with the Framework 6 Network of Excellence Neuroprion, in particular to ensure the sustainability of the SRTSE network's database of tissue samples.

The SRTSE network has been, and continues to be a real success in meeting the original objectives and reaching beyond to provide the basis of a sustainable community of small ruminant TSE researchers.

Classified in ANIMALS

Scientist responsible for the project

Mr SHANTA SIVAM
Woodham Lane, New Haw
KT15 3NB Addlestone
United Kingdom (The) - GB

Phone: +44 1932 357495
Fax: +44 1932 349983
E-mail: k.sivam@vla.defra.gsi.gov.uk

References

Project ID QLRT-2001-00959
Organisation Department of Environment, Foos and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
Area 5.1.1
Start date 01 February 2003
Duration (months) 48
Total cost 1 662 494 €
Total EC contribution   1 519 116 €
Status Ongoing
Web address of the project   http://www.srtse.net

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