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OIE Laboratory Twinning project between CENSA, Cuba and the EU and OIE Reference Laboratory for CSF, Hannover, Germany 01.08.2010-31.09.2013


Comprised Information Leaflet

Background of the Project:

Classical swine fever (CSF) is included in the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE) list of compulsory notifiable diseases and causes serious problems for the swine industry worldwide.

In Cuba, CSF was reported for the first time in the 1940s. The application of a national control programme including vaccination led to a progressive decrease of the appearance of CSF cases up to 1975. However, after almost 20 years of absence of the disease, CSF re-emerged in 1993 and increasingly took the characteristics of an epizootic, despite the fact that vaccination was still performed. Characterization of CSF virus isolates obtained from different outbreak locations performed at CENSA revealed a very high degree of genetic similarity between each other and to strain “Margarita”, which is used for efficiency testing in vaccine production.

In 2006, an updated programme for the control and eradication of CSF carried out by the Cuban Institute of Veterinary Medicine (IMV) was launched. Although at first the programme was successful, soon the number of outbreaks was again increasing. Therefore, it became clear that the measures already in place for the control of the disease had to be reinforced.

The need to strengthen the institutional capacities of CENSA and the IMV was identified, as only a fast, efficient and reliable laboratory diagnosis can enable the country to effectively put epizootic counter-measures into place and thus assuring the security and self-supply with pork meat and by-products not only in Cuba but also in the Caribbean Region.


Aim of the Project:

The aim of the project is to harmonize CSF diagnosis to OIE standards and to improve scientific and technological capacity of the candidate laboratory (CENSA) in order to enable early, reliable and fast detection and diagnosis of CSF.

The project is focused on development, optimization and validation of nucleic acid techniques for rapid and reliable detection of CSFV and on the increase of scientific and technical expertise in classical and advanced diagnostic methods. The parent laboratory (EU and OIE-Reference Laboratory for CSF) assists the candidate laboratory by offering training sessions, transferring knowledge and by providing reference material and expertise.

This twinning project intends to improve the candidate laboratory´s scientific and technological diagnostic capabilities concerning CSF to comply with OIE Reference Laboratory standards.


CENSA (Candidate institute):

The National Centre for Animal and Plant Health (CENSA), Mayabeque, Cuba, is an FAO regional Collaborating Centre for the preparedness on animal trans-boundary diseases in the Caribbean region.

CENSA is the Coordinator for the REDesastres a national thematic network, which involves several research centers and universities in the training of specialized personnel for facing trans-boundary animal diseases.

CENSA’s activities are included in a quality management system according to ISO regulations and focus on the prevention, diagnosis and control of viral diseases that affect economically important animal species.


Final Workshop of the Twinning Project

The project´s final wrap up workshop will focus on the assessment of the achieved objects and the evaluation of the accomplished work in order to identify post-project needs to be addressed in the future.

The final workshop will take place in Varadero, Cuba from 03.09.-05.09.2013.

CENSA is organizing the workshop and representatives of candidate and parent laboratory will participate, as well as scientists from other Caribbean and Latin American laboratories.

For further information please contact the project coordinators.


Participant List Final Workshop

Agenda Final Workshop

Presentations Final Workshop


Project coordinators:

Sophia Austermann-Busch, project coordinator EURL

María Teresa Frias Lepoureau, project coordinator CENSA

General information on OIE Twinning Projects: