Australia-Indonesia knowledge sharing project helps to improve biosecurity and disease diagnostics

University of Melbourne staff have helped to establish a laboratory with advanced diagnostic tests to detect poultry diseases at Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Indonesia as part of a recently-completed project.

The project, "Transfer of diagnostic technologies for significant diseases of poultry," received grant funding from the Australia-Indonesia Institute of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

It was led by Dr Nadeeka Wawegama from the Asia-Pacific Centre for Animal Health (APCAH) in the Melbourne Veterinary School. APCAH provides a range of services for the Australian poultry industry including safety and efficacy testing of animal health products, and serological and virological diagnostics.

The project has improved the capabilities of Indonesia’s academic institutes to detect and respond to disease in the nation’s socioeconomically important poultry industry, and enabled UGM staff to provide similar services.

The project also included using APCAH’s facilities and expertise to examine samples from Indonesia’s industry at a new level of detail. Using advanced diagnostic tools, the team were able to determine the strain and source of several infectious agents present in Indonesia’s sizeable poultry industry.

These tools enabled the team to confirm the presence of a previously unreported poultry disease, inclusion body hepatitis (IBH). This significant disease is caused by avian adenoviruses and can result in sudden mortality, particularly where other infections occur. This and other findings will be described in an upcoming publication.

Dr Wawegama presented on the project’s findings at UGM on 24 July, with Professors Widya Asmara and Michael Haryadi Wibowo, both of UGM.

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Dr Nadeeka Wawegama (left) summarises the project, “Transfer of diagnostic technologies for significant diseases of poultry,” to animal health professionals and researchers at the University of Gadjah Mada.

Around 60 animal health professionals attended the seminar, including staff from UGM’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, staff from several Indonesian Department of Agriculture district offices, researchers from the Wates Centre for Veterinary Investigation, representatives from 22 poultry farms, other technical workers and postgraduate students from UGM.

Following the seminar Dr Martins Olaogun, APCAH Laboratory Technician, delivered three days of hands-on training for staff at UGM’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine on advanced techniques that will be used in the new laboratory: conventional and quantitative PCR techniques, high resolution melt (HRM) analysis and interpretation, sequence analysis and interpretation and professional reporting procedures.

Previously APCAH staff visited Indonesia to conduct veterinary student seminars, workshops and round-table meetings in Indonesia with researchers and their poultry industry partners.

The training and new laboratory will improve UGM’s institutional diagnostic expertise and help its staff to provide support to poultry industry.

Previous project updates:

Banner image: Dr Martins Olaogun, Asia-Pacific Centre for Animal Health, trains staff at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Gadjah Mada, in advanced diagnostic techniques.

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