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Canada's National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease designated as a World Organization for Animal Health Reference Laboratory for African swine fever

 Ottawa, Ontario

Canada has been recognized as a global leader in scientific and technical expertise to address problems relating to African swine fever (ASF). The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH, founded as the Office international des Epizooties) officially recognized the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (NCFAD) in Winnipeg as a WOAH Reference Laboratory to address ASF. There are only six other laboratories in the world with that designation. The CFIA's Dr. Aruna Ambagala was also recognized as Canada's designated expert for ASF.

ASF is a viral disease that does not infect humans, but poses a significant risk to the health of Canadian swine herds, the pork industry, and the Canadian economy.

WOAH Reference Laboratories are internationally recognized centres 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.

The CFIA is responsible for food safety, and the protection of plant and animal health in Canada. This mandate is supported by the CFIA's network of 13 laboratories across the country. The NCFAD is also designated as a WOAH Reference Laboratory for classical swine fever, highly pathogenic and low pathogenic avian influenza in poultry, and foot-and-mouth disease.

This network of laboratories and the work of their scientists are essential to protect the health and well-being of people, animals, and the economy, both in Canada and internationally.

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