1st VPH WG meeting

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Mon, 12/12/2011 - 08:00 - Wed, 12/14/2011 - 18:00
San Juan, Puerto Rico





Agenda is available in the attached document below.

Bowen Louison (Chair), vet services, Grenada
Linnette Peters, ministry of health, Jamaica
Rohini Roopnarine, university of Grenada, Grenada
Marquita Guittens-St Hilaire, regional leptospirosis lab diagnostic, Barbados
Janine Seetahal, vet diagnostic laboratory, Trinidad and Tobago
Kanyuira Gikonyo, vet services, Cayman Islands
Ludder Fleurinord, vet services, Haiti
Lorraine Akrum, vet services, Surinam
Elton Irizarry Pasarell, vet services, Porto Rico
Jennifer Pradel, CIRAD
Marion Laurent, CIRAD
Céline Faverjon, CIRAD
Brenda Rivera Garcia, ministry of Health, Porto Rico
Fidel Villegas, PAHO

Rabies in the World and in the Americas

- The VPH WG reviewed the recommendations of the OIE global conference on rabies control and recommends that both rabies endemic and rabies free countries/territories adopt these recommendations to improve their national rabies control measures. These recommendations are available on both the OIE1 and CaribVET websites.

- The VPH WG suggests that rabies free countries/territories strengthen their rabies prevention protocols and improve their quarantine measures.

- The VPH WG recommends improving communication and experience sharing between rabies free and rabies endemic countries/territories

- VPH WG recommends closer inter-ministry and inter-agency (i.e. health and agriculture ministries/ agencies) collaboration to embrace the One Health Concept as recommended by WHO, FAO and OIE in the context of the human-to-animal interface.

- Rabies International Conference in The Americas (RITA)

- The VPH WG noted and acknowledged the Mongoose oral rabies vaccination trial being conducted as a pilot project by the Puerto Rican Government Ministries of Health and Agriculture, the USDA and CDC. The objectives of this trial is to:

                    i/ evaluate the efficacy of current baits in the field;

                   ii/ design a bait distribution methodology and;

                 iii/ assess the efficiency of the contraceptive components incorporated into the baits.

The VPH WG suggests CaribVET make a formal request to USDA and CDC to explore the possibility of more direct involvement of other Caribbean countries/territories in the pilot project on Mongoose Oral Rabies Vaccination.

Rabies in the Caribbean: update and overview

- The group was updated on the current Rabies situation in some Caribbean countries/territories and Latin America and acknowledged the epidemiological diversity of the regional reservoir species (i.e. dogs, vampire bats, foxes, mongoose).

- The VPH WG agreed to document the current Rabies situation in Latin America and the Caribbean from data presented at the meeting, and to complete this with information from other countries who were unable to attend the meeting (Guyana, French Guyana, DR, Cuba) at the next 2012 Steering Committee meeting.

- The VPH WG recommends that all countries send official reports for the last 3 years. The group will clearly state the information needed on Rabies including the national viral variant, by developing a simple reporting format to fulfill the needs and purposes of the CaribVET Network.

Rabies diagnostic

- The VPH WG supports the initiative of an OIE/CaribVET Database of Laboratory Networks within the Americas and the evaluation of the CARICOM laboratories. CIRAD will inform the group when the database is available online.

- The VPH WG encourages countries to utilize existing facilities in the region to assist with Rabies diagnostic testing and confirmatory diagnosis.

- The VPH WG recommends an assessment of Rabies diagnostic capabilities in the Caribbean by using:

                    o the results of the CARICOM laboratories evaluation and;

                    o the OIE/CaribVET database of laboratories in the Americas

- VPH WG recommends that CaribVET countries share information on the sourcing of conjugates/reagents and other laboratory supplies and equipment for rabies diagnostics.

                    o Laboratories expressing the need for conjugates: Belize, Haiti, Suriname (others?).

                    o Equipped laboratories agreeing to share materials: countries?

                    o The chair of the VPH working group to contact the countries officially to collect the information and give feedback to the group.

- VPH encourages laboratories to conduct inter-laboratory assays and proficiency testing with reference laboratories to increase confidence in the results provided (identify those reference laboratories).

                    o Laboratories expressing the need to organise ILA or proficiency testing: the chair to ask feedback from each country.

- The VPH WG recommends a review of the existing guidelines on rabies diagnostic testing developed by the OIE, PAHO/WHO, CDC etc.


CaribVET Website and VPH section

- The VPH agreed to provide non confidential documents (surveillance reports, articles, etc.) to CIRAD for online publication and to moderate the content of the Rabies, Leptospirosis and Salmonellosis sections of the website.


Rabies control in the Caribbean

- VPH WG recommends that all rabies endemic countries adopt / have an official rabies control program.

- The VPH WG notes the importance of education programmes targeting both children and the general public and encourages each country to develop, and implement such programs.

- The VPH WG noted the OIE recommendations to establish vaccines banks. However, most Caribbean countries have access to vaccines and there could be limitations in the execution of such programs within the Caribbean given the geographical logistics and legislative differences

- The VPH WG further recommends to review and adopt existing templates for control protocols (including vaccination strategies) of PAHO/WHO, OIE, and select member countries (e.g. Grenada and Trinidad) which are to be shared with all Caribbean countries.

- VPH WG encourages countries to determine the size of their canine population in order to:

                    - i/ calculate the level of vaccine coverage in a control program or;

                    - ii/ evaluate the feasibility of the implementation of such a program.

      => The VPH WG recommends to exchange information during the next meeting on the application of such control methodologies within regional dog populations.


Rabies prevention in non affected islands

Leptospirosis session

- The VPH WG notes the presentation of Dr. Gittens and pledge to work in close collaboration with the regional reference diagnostic laboratory.

- The VPH WG both notes and accepts the presentation from Dominica with regard to their current Leptospirosis situation. The VPH WG further wishes to express support and technical expertise in the following areas:

                    o Study design (CIRAD);

                    o Guidelines and general protocols on sample collection and laboratory testing (regional reference diagnostic laboratory for Leptospirosis, in Barbados);

- The VPH WG will seek clarification from PAHO as to the current role of CAREC in providing leptospirosis diagnostic analysis.

- The WG noted the interest of Puerto Rico to work in closer collaboration with the rest of the region and to exchange and share information, with respect to Leptospirosis.


Salmonellosis session

- The VPH WG recognized previous work done by the Salmonella working group and this group will specifically follow-up on the risk assessment study that is being undertaken by the University of the West Indies.

- The VPH WG will consider the offer of PAHO/PANAFTOSA to provide the group with technical support for the risk assessment studies.

- The VPH WG noted that some work has been done by Caribbean Poultry Association (CPA) on farm food-safety protocols related to Salmonella (sanitary measures). The group will contact Dr. Desmond Ali (chair of the CPA) to ask whether they can provide documents to put on the website.

- The VPH WG acknowledges the new FAO/WHO web-based tool for conducting microbiological risk assessment, a decision support tool for the control of Salmonella and Campylobacter in chicken meat (http://www.mramodels.org/). The group suggests that VPH WG members familiarize themselves with the tool before promoting its’ use in the region.


Research session

- VPH welcomed the research initiatives of St George’s University and await the results which may benefit to the region.


Poster Session on the VEP

- The VPH WG wishes to acknowledge the work done by the VEPs and the informative posters displayed.

- The VPH WG recommends that the terms of reference of the group consist of the development of surveillance protocols with the assistance of the Epidemiology working group, review existing protocols, provide/develop guidelines for control, share/distribute existing templates from


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