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An Evaluation of Current Animal and Human Salmonella Research, Harmonisation of Diagnostic Techniques and Introduction of Novel Research Tools


Both the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) and the Health Protection Agency (HPA) conduct routine diagnostic, reference and epidemiological investigations of Salmonella, often working together in outbreak investigations. The two organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), an associated aim of which is to achieve optimal collaboration and combination of their respective facilities and capabilities including investigation, surveillance and control of zoonoses; surveillance of antimicrobial drug resistance in bacteria from human and animal sources, food and water; investigation, surveillance and control of food-borne infection; development of common Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the isolation, identification and typing of zoonotic bacteria and for antimicrobial sensitivity testing and harmonisation of procedures for the surveillance of human and animal infectious disease. <P>

This project seeks to provide a rational basis for the harmonisation and enhancement of routine diagnostic and surveillance activities related to Salmonella in the two organisations by reviewing and evaluating the current research in these areas and providing recommendations to Defra for achieving these aims. <P>

Recommendations will also be made on areas for new research targeted at the harmonisation of diagnostic and typing techniques, and the introduction of novel research tools.

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Progress: Key recommendations from the review included:
<UL> <LI> Development of shared protocols for statistically structured international, national or local outbreak investigations and investigating incidents with modelling to inform data collection and experimental design.
<LI> Improving standardisation of data collection, collation and databases for storage.
<LI> Improving access to spatially referenced and denominator data
<LI>Improving timeliness of data exchange and enhancing links with the Early Detection System for human salmonella of emerging importance.
<LI>Developing use of cluster analysis and GIS mapping for detecting outbreaks and focussing risk factor analyses.
<LI> Improving use of the iterative nature of microbial risk assessments and using MRA to drive the direction of research projects.
<LI> Optimising sampling protocols including use of statistical approaches and novel techniques for different situations; optimising sample handling and preparation, pre-enrichment and enrichment and developing methods for detecting multiple pathogens.
<LI>Development of alternative plating techniques to identify new and emerging serovars and molecular techniques for use in monitoring programmes.
<LI>Development of inter laboratory quality assurance schemes for a range of different matrices.
<LI>Development and harmonisation of sub-typing methods and molecular characterisation and promotion of techniques amenable to electronic storage and exchange of data.


Veterinary Laboratories Agency, UK
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