Canadian facility named WOAH reference laboratory for ASF

Canadian facility named WOAH reference laboratory for ASF

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National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease in Manitoba becomes one of 7 labs in the world to earn this distinction

The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH, formerly OIE) has officially recognized the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (NCFAD) in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as a WOAH reference laboratory to address African swine fever (ASF).

With this decision, the Canadian facility becomes only the seventh laboratory in the world to receive such a designation.

The CFIA’s Dr. Aruna Ambagala was also recognized as Canada’s designated expert for ASF.

According to the CFIA, WOAH Reference Laboratories are internationally recognized centers of expertise on specific animal diseases. These laboratories play a critical role in the international monitoring and control of animal diseases, in applied research, as well as in providing support for diagnosis, training, and advice to member countries. This designation by the WOAH is a sign of Canada’s scientific excellence and demonstrates Canada’s increasing ability, capacity, and readiness to detect and respond to an outbreak of ASF as well as support global efforts to manage the disease.

In addition to being designated as an ASF reference laboratory, the NCFAD is also designated as a reference laboratory for classical swine fever (CSF), making it the only WOAH reference laboratory in the Americas designated for both ASF and CSF.

NCFAD is also designated for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI).

To date, there have been no confirmed cases of ASF or CSF in Canada. However, the CFIA staff has been busy in 2022, having battled an outbreak of HPAI, which has been ongoing since December 2021. HPAI has been confirmed in every Canadian province.

View our continuing coverage of the global African swine fever situation.