News Centre

25 Jan 2007

International Experts join forces in a bid to controlthe spread of human and animal disease in Asia

25 Jan 2007

Leading experts from The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health and the University of London’s Royal Veterinary College will lead Hong Kong’s first veterinary public health programme, aimed at developing a better understanding of the relationship between animal disease and public health, thus boosting Hong Kong’s capacity to fight emerging infectious diseases.

Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two leading international institutions, the courses on animal diseases affecting human is the first of a series of collaborative ventures, which will bring together professionals in veterinary and human medicine.

It comes at a time when Hong Kong is being challenged by recent cases of unexplained respiratory illnesses among pig farmers and following the discovery of new cases of H5N1. Over fifty medical and veterinary professionals, from Hong Kong and elsewhere in Southern China will attend the programme.

Professor Colin Howard, Vice-Principal for Strategic Development at the Royal Veterinary College comments: “This is all about ensuring people are better prepared to expect the unexpected. Veterinary professionals stand on the front line of disease surveillance. Through developing good clinical acumen, better surveillance techniques and diagnostic processes we can have a positive impact on the spread of disease across the region.”

Course director, Professor Paul Chan Kay-sheung explains, “Because of the various interactions between human and animals, knowledge of zoonoses is of particular importance to local medical professionals for a better preparedness for different emerging infectious disease problems both locally and in the rest of Asia-Pacific.”

Professors Colin Howard, Katharina Stark and Dirk Pfeiffer, from the Royal Veterinary College will also present at the scientific symposium held on 26-27 January at CUHK’s Stanley Ho Centre for Emerging Infectious Disease. The symposium provides an international platform for disseminating knowledge on different aspects of emerging infections. Representatives from the United States, United Kingdom, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and mainland China join local experts to discuss important topics in emerging infections covering basic pre-clinical research, clinical management, epidemiology, surveillance and public health issues.

The Royal Veterinary College is the UK’s first and largest veterinary school and a constituent college of the University of London. The College is one of the leading veterinary research centres in Europe. It also provides support for the UK veterinary profession through its three referral hospitals, diagnostic services and continuing professional development courses.