EU Food Safety Project delivered Foot-and-Mouth Disease simulation exercises on 25 and 26 April

The EU Food Safety Project (EU FSP), funded by the European Union within the scope of the Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community, organized and delivered six simulation exercises related to preparedness for a combination of diseases that require immediate intervention and are relevant to the Turkish Cypriot community. The exercises aim to increase the knowledge and awareness of the staff of local body in charge of ‘veterinary services’ and other stakeholders related to the diseases. The last simulation exercise was held on 25 and 26 April 2024 at the EU FSP office with the participation of the representatives of the local body in charge for ‘veterinary services’, local body in charge for ‘animal husbandry’, local communities, and local bodies. The simulation was highly interactive and evaluated as very useful by the participants.   

During the last simulation exercise, our experts explained the importance of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) disease and guided the participants through the simulation. In a proactive measure to bolster readiness against potential outbreaks of FMD, the beneficiaries were engaged in a comprehensive simulation exercise. The simulated scenario, carefully designed to mimic a real-time FMD outbreak, aimed to test response mechanisms, enhance coordination among TCc, and refine strategies crucial for containing and mitigating the spread of this highly contagious animal disease.

FMD disease poses a significant threat to livestock populations, agricultural economies, and food security globally. The simulated exercise, organized by the EU FSP, brings together veterinary experts, decisionmakers, and stakeholders from diverse regions. Participants were tasked with navigating through various stages of the hypothetical outbreak, including early detection, rapid response, vaccination campaigns, and trade management.

The EU FSP experts, KE-3 Mustafa Tufan and SNKE Blagojcho Tabakovski, leading the veterinarians involved in the simulation, highlighted its importance, stating, "These exercises are invaluable in assessing preparedness and identifying areas for improvement. With FMD, swift and coordinated action is paramount to prevent devastating consequences for both animal and human populations."

Through the simulation of FMD in cattle, this exercise's goal was to refine contingency preparedness documentation. This process would update the contingency plan and operational manual for FMD, along with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for critical actions such as farm biosecurity, epidemiological investigation, sample collection, humane killing of infected animals, cleanup and disinfection processes, and the safe disposal of carcasses and other FMD-contaminated materials and equipment. The exercise also reviewed the effectiveness of these SOPs in actual practice to ensure that they adequately prepare veterinary teams to respond to and manage an FMD outbreak.

EU Food Safety Project

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