Cow sick with lumpy skin disease
Lumpy skin disease originated in Africa but has spread to Eastern and Southern Europe in the past years.

Technical assistance to the Animal Health Department and the Food and Veterinary Laboratory, Kosovo

Technical assistance helped Kosovo contain animal-borne diseases

Farm animals in Kosovo have been plagued by infectious diseases for decades. The diseases hurt rural economies, and some are able to transfer to humans. To help curb them, NIRAS provided expertise and support to local authorities in their quest to protect the country's animals.

Brucellosis and lumpy skin disease – they don’t sound pleasant, and they aren’t. Both diseases are primarily found in farm animals, but brucellosis can infect humans and cause chronic, localized infections. And aside from the health threat to humans, sickness in farm animals can cause major economic losses in rural areas.

Healthy animals for a healthy economy

In Kosovo, Brucellosis has been a problem for decades, while lumpy skin disease only recently made its unwelcome appearance.

Lumpy skin disease originated in Africa, where it has devastated rural farming communities by incapacitating their animals. In 2013 it spread to Turkey, and by 2016 it was present in large areas of southeastern Europe.

1184

number of humans infected with brucellosis in Kosovo between 1980 and 2008.

Brucellosis and lumpy skin disease have already hurt Kosovo’s economy, and there are concerns that the diseases could spread further amongst European farm animals. This has prompted a large, EU-orchestrated effort to curb them. From 2015 to 2017 NIRAS was part of this effort as a member of a small consortium tasked with providing technical assistance to the Kosovo Food and Veterinary Agency (KFVA).

The effort was divided into two parts: General animal disease control and laboratory testing.

A multi-faceted effort

NIRAS and our two international partners assisted in structuring and strengthening the KFVA, developing more effective systems for protecting and monitoring farm animals, capacity building the laboratories as well as awareness raising campaigns.

The effort was divided into two parts: General animal disease control and laboratory testing. Both were carried out in close cooperation with the rest of the consortium as well as the KFVA.

The key achievements were:

Animal disease control

  • A development plan for the animal health unit, including an annual and multiannual work plan
  • Implementation of a surveillance and vaccination programme for the targeted diseases
  • A cost-benefit analysis of control/eradication of the diseases
  • Review and update of contingency plans for selected animal diseases
  • Review and update of control plans for brucellosis and clostridial diseases
  • Design and implementation of an awareness campaign on disease control and eradication for farmers and other stakeholders

Laboratory testing

  • A list of tests and analyses to be included in the range of laboratory services to be performed
  • A list of missing equipment and technical specifications for this equipment
  • Training of laboratory staff
  • Review and update of the laboratory management systems, including document management and communications system