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By  Fiona McFarlane 30 May 2024 2 min read

Key points

  • Our Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness helps strengthen biosecurity practices in our region.
  • We provide overseas countries with training in biosecurity practices, like using diagnostic tools for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) detection.
  • Fast and accurate diagnostic tools like this can help lessen the impact of disease outbreaks and reduce the risk of diseases reaching Australia.

Two pwople standing next to each other in a field. One is wearing personal protective equipment including a plastic apron, gloves, glasses and rubber boots. The other is in work clothes, gloves, glasses and rubber boots. Both wear sun hats.
Darcy, on the left, is wearing more PPE due to his role of collecting an oral swab from an animal. Eranga, on the right, is the scribe and will not be handling animal samples.

Pre-border biosecurity plays an important role in Australia’s biosecurity system.

We go to great lengths to provide tailored biosecurity support to neighbouring counties. Sometimes we even dress up in PPE (personal protective equipment) and hone our acting skills.

What is pre-border biosecurity?

Pre-border biosecurity stops pests and diseases before they get to our borders. We support this by providing training in disease surveillance techniques and laboratory diagnosis to labs overseas. When our near neighbours are good at preventing, detecting and responding to disease outbreaks, they have a better chance of controlling them quickly.

This reduces the impacts on their own countries and reduces the risk to Australia and our important livestock industries.

Partnering with Indonesia

Staff at our Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness have been working with Indonesia’s Veterinary Centre Wates to strengthen the capacity of Indonesia's animal health laboratories. In this bilateral collaboration called BICOLLAB, we provide training in biosecurity practices.

This includes guidance in diagnostics, training in new laboratory methodologies and biosafety, and developing tests.

Foot-and-mouth disease training

As part of this partnership, we are investigating how Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) test kits perform in field conditions. FMD is a devastating disease of cloven-hoofed animals that has significant production and animal health and welfare impact.

To investigate how the test kits perform, we have run two practice sessions in the field with similar kits here in Australia. This provided our team with the opportunity to work out the most efficient process for using these tests in the field.

And once we had that worked out, the whole thing was filmed and photographed to create a tailored training course for our Indonesian colleagues.

Indonesia trials the kits

Staff from Wates in Indonesia ran a practice session in the field, following the guidelines sent from ACDP. This allowed the Wates staff to practice the planned workflow including processes for health and safety, biosafety, sampling, testing, and decontamination.

With training materials at hand, the team from Wates in Indonesia ran a practice session following the detailed video and photographic workflow provided.

We’ve heard it went well.

Next steps are to continue field testing the kits and evaluate their performance under field conditions. This work will help support adoption or changes to policy to enable the kits use.

Fast and accurate methods for detecting suspected cases of FMD in the field are crucial for establishing a quick response to a disease outbreak. This is important because a rapid response can minimise the spread and reduce the economic and social impacts of disease on farmers and their animals.

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