Advanced Course




Zaragoza (Spain), 14-18 January 2013


Objective of the course
Teaching organization
Guest lecturers

Objective of the course

The livestock industry contributes largely to the economic and social welfare of the rural populations in the Mediterranean countries. A number of animal diseases continue to represent a serious constraint to the development of this sector as well as an important barrier for the international animal trade. Accordingly, the proper diagnosis of these diseases is of paramount importance.


An effective response to disease outbreaks requires a comprehensive diagnostic plan that addresses each phase of the outbreak: surveillance, response and control. The diagnostic laboratory thus plays an essential role in the surveillance system. A broad spectrum of sensitive and specific diagnostic assays is crucial in providing timely and accurate diagnosis for immediate response for disease control.


This course is dedicated to qualified staff in veterinary diagnostic laboratories to provide them with the next generation and current methodologies in animal disease diagnosis so as to enhance the control/eradication strategies and achieve sustainable impact on the development of the livestock industry.


Upon completion of the course, the participants will have gained expertise on the following areas:


-          Understanding the relevance of laboratory management, quality assurance and compliance with international standards in providing laboratory results with high level of accuracy and confidence.

-          Acquire information about the role of international organizations and the benefits of networking with the reference laboratories in diagnostics. 

-          Overview of classical and new diagnostic technologies and their potential use in the Animal Health area.

-          Application of the diagnostic methods on selected case studies of major diseases in the Mediterranean region.


The course is jointly organized by the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), through the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza (IAMZ), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), through the Animal Production and Health Division, and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and will take place at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza. The course will be given by well-qualified lecturers from international organizations and from research centres, universities and government departments in different countries.


The course will be held over a period of one week, from 14 to 18 January 2013, in morning and afternoon sessions.


The course caters for 25 participants with a university degree and is aimed at qualified staff in public and private veterinary diagnostic laboratories. The course would also be opened to researchers involved in animal health diagnosis.


Given the diverse nationalities of the lecturers, knowledge of English and French will be valued in the selection of candidates, since together with Spanish, they will be the working languages of the course. However, if necessary, the Organization will provide simultaneous translation of the lectures.


Application forms may be obtained from:


Instituto Agronómico Mediterráneo de Zaragoza

Avenida de Montañana 1005, 50059 Zaragoza (Spain)

Tel.: +34 976 716000 - Fax: +34 976 716001




Candidates should send the completed application form to the above address, accompanied by a detailed curriculum vitae, stating degree, diplomas, experience, professional activities, language knowledge and reasons for applying to the course. Copies of certificates should be enclosed with the application.


The deadline for the submission of applications is 5 November 2012.


Applications from those candidates who cannot present their complete records when applying, or those requiring authorization to attend the course, may be accepted provisionally.


Registration fees for the course amount to 450 euro. This sum covers tuition fees only.


Candidates from CIHEAM member countries (Albania, Algeria, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey) may apply for scholarships covering registration fees, and for scholarships covering the cost of travel and full board accommodation in the Hall of Residence on the Aula Dei Campus.


Candidates from other countries who require financial support should apply directly to other national or international institutions.


It is compulsory for participants to have medical insurance valid for Spain. Proof of insurance cover must be given at the beginning of the course. Those who so wish may participate in a collective insurance policy taken out by the Organization, upon payment of the stipulated sum.

Teaching organization

The course requires personal work and interaction among participants and with lecturers. The international characteristics of the course favour the exchange of experiences and points of view.


The programme has an applied approach, combining specialized lectures with case studies and debates. Participants will be invited to prepare before the beginning of the course a brief report on their own professional experiences regarding diagnosis procedures in livestock health management. These reports will be shared with lecturers and participants.


1.      Diagnostic laboratories and international standards (6 hours)

1.1.    The diagnostic laboratory as a part of animal health surveillance systems

1.2.    The role of international organizations in disease diagnosis

1.2.1.     The OIE Manual of Diagnostic tests as a guide for diagnosing the main animal diseases. Importance of standardisation and validation of diagnostic techniques for pathogens of relevance for international trade

1.2.2.     The role of FAO and OIE reference laboratories network. Conditions to be fulfilled to become a reference lab

1.2.3.     Networking initiatives in the Mediterranean region: REMESA

1.3.    Management of laboratory system, biosafety/biosecurity and quality assurance

1.4.    Round table discussion: Diagnostic challenges in the Mediterranean region

2.      Disease surveillance (3 hours)

2.1.    Sampling design

2.2.    Sample collection, preservation and shipping to national and international reference labs

2.3.    Use of different matrices for the diagnosis of animal diseases

2.4.    Performance of diagnostic tests

2.5.    Diagnostic strategy used in different stages of disease control programmes

3.      Diagnostic methodologies (13 hours)

3.1.    Isolation of pathogens

3.1.1.     Viral diseases

3.1.2.     Bacterial diseases

3.2.    Immunoassays and their applications

3.2.1.     Brief review of classical methodologies

3.2.2.     New methods     Luminex     Penside test     Fluorescence polarization assay

3.2.3.     Tests detecting cellular immune responses

3.3.    Genomic techniques

3.3.1.     Pros and cons of genomic analysis. Internal and external controls

3.3.2.     Extraction methodologies for genomic diagnosis according to the type of sample and pathogen

3.3.3.     Single and multiplex conventional and real time PCR

3.3.4.     LAMP

3.3.5.     Other molecular characterization techniques (RFLP, RAPD, microsatelites, PGFP)

3.3.6.     Sequence analysis     Ultrasequencing     Spiral sequencing     Real time full genomic sequencing

3.3.7.     Microarrays

3.4.    Proteomics

3.4.1.     Separation techniques: conventional 2DE, 2DE-DIGE, LC

3.4.2.     Identification techniques: MALDI-TOF-MS and MS/MS

3.4.3.     Labelling and quantification techniques

3.4.4.     Experimental designs, MIAPEs (minimum information about a proteomic experiment) and validation

3.4.5.     Present and future applications in animal health and disease diagnosis

3.5.    Open discussion: Implementing diagnostic methods in participants’ countries

4.      Diagnosis case studies of major diseases in the Mediterranean region (6 hours)

4.1.    Bacterial diseases

4.1.1.     Brucellosis

4.1.2.     Tuberculosis

4.2.    Viral disease

4.2.1.     Foot and mouth disease

4.2.2.     Vector borne diseases: blue tongue and Schmallenberg disease

4.3.    Prion diseases: Scrapie

4.4.    Parasitic diseases: Toxoplasmosis

5.      Round table discussion: Future trends in disease diagnosis in the Mediterranean region (1 hour)

Guest lecturers

C. ACÍN, Univ. Zaragoza (Spain)

G. ADURIZ, Neiker, Derio (Spain)

G. ÁLVAREZ, Saluvet, UCM, Madrid (Spain)

J.M. BLASCO, CITA-GA, Zaragoza (Spain)

E.COLLANTES, Saluvet, UCM, Madrid (Spain)

F. CONRATHS, FLI, Wusterhausen (Germany)

F. GARCÍA MARÍN, Univ. León (Spain)

F. GARCÍA PEÑA, Laboratorio Central de Veterinaria de Algete, Madrid (Spain)

C. GIL, UCM, Madrid (Spain)

S. METWALLY, FAO, Roma (Italy)

P. MUÑOZ, CITA-GA, Zaragoza (Spain)

L.M. ORTEGA, Saluvet, UCM, Madrid (Spain)

A. PETRINI, OIE, Tunis (Tunisia)