Due to the sanitary situation of the COVID-19, the tenth meeting of the standing group of experts on Lumpy Skin Disease (SGE LSD10), initially planned in Israel, took place as a teleconference on 14 January 2021.
Eighteen countries of Europe participated, as well as the representatives of GF-TAD from Asia, with a total of over 45 meeting participants.
The Secretariat explained that now the competences for the meeting organisation are under the responsibility of the OIE Sub-Regional Representation in Nur- Sultan.
The participating Member countries of the SGE-LSD for Europe briefly presented their national epidemiological situation regarding LDS, focusing on the changes since the last online meeting in February 2020. Only Russia faced two LSD outbreaks between August to November 2020. They gave an update on the last outbreak occurrence, the type of vaccination in place, the surveillance post-vaccination, and the disease preparedness, as well as plans for 2021 regarding vaccination and surveillance. The OIE and the European Commission representatives gave an overview of what is being reported worldwide through WAHIS, ADNS the scenario within Europe including how the commission is supporting the countries, including in Asia where the disease is currently becoming more problematic but where also countries are showing good practices and a clear willingness to overcome the problem. FAO gave an overview of the projects ongoing in Southeast Europe including the results obtained by their training projects and the future training activities. Two extremely important presentations from EFSA on the Importance of active and passive surveillance in an LSD vaccination cessation strategy and from the EU Reference laboratory on the activities of importance to the LSD diagnosis, validation of diagnostic tests, the independent LSD vaccine quality control, and further scientific investigation of new virus strains, including those related to vaccine-virus, gave the opportunity to establish a very useful debate.
The SGE LSD10 developed a set of recommendations on Vaccination, Surveillance, and other activities. Amongst these, it was highlighted that mass vaccination with homologous vaccines should be considered in the countries still affected to eliminate the virus and the quality control on the vaccine should be carried out.
The decision to continue or stop LSD vaccination in 2021, should be based, among other factors, on the LSD occurrence in the country/territory or zone in the previous years, the vaccination coverage achieved during the past 2 years, and the possible risk of disease introduction from neighboring countries/territories; however, LSD vaccination should at least continue in Turkey, Albania and the high-risk areas of Greece and Bulgaria, but everywhere systematic surveillance, active and passive, should continue in 2021, for a period of at least two years, to prove the absence of LSD and ensure early detection in case of resurgence or reintroduction from affected areas.
Characterization of new strains of the LSD virus should be done, including vaccine-related strains, in close collaboration with the LSD Reference laboratory.
All countries/territories in the region should continue to share information on the occurrence of LSD (WAHIS, ADNS, in the short term ADIS) and are encouraged to exchange materials and methods between them and with the EURL. Collection and analysis of data on LSD should also continue, with the support of EFSA.
The SGE LSD11 hopefully will take place in Israel in the second semester of 2021, if the regional sanitary situation enables it.