Developing tools to control the lumpy skin disease and African swine fever epidemics in Europe and neighbouring countries.

The project takes place in a very large area, with more than 30 partners across Europe, Russia, South Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and Australia.

The Pirbright Institute (UK) and Sciensano (Belgium).

VSF Italia together with the European University Institute are the co-leaders of the Working Package (WP) 3: Conflict, migration and virus spread.

European Union’s Horizon 2020 agreement No 773701

€5.6 million

5 years, starting from June 2018

In the last 5 years, diseases such as African Swine Fever (ASF) and Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) have spread across Europe, putting a strain on the governments of the different countries that have implemented measures to contain and, where possible, prevent the spread of these diseases.

The hypothesis behind the activities in which VSF Italia is involved (together with EUI and 30 other partners) is that in some cases the spread of these diseases could be enhanced by situations of war, civil instability and poverty.

Our task as leaders of WP3 is precisely to assess whether and how civil wars, situations of socio-political uncertainty and conflicts could act as drivers for the emergence and spread of animal diseases; special attention will obviously be paid to ASF and LSD, although the circumstances of spread of other relevant animal diseases such as Foot-and-Mouth Disease, PPR (“Peste des Petits Ruminants”, a morbillivirus related to rinderpest virus that affects small ruminants), Bovine Tuberculosis and others will also be taken into account.

More specifically, the objectives of WPR’s are:

  • Generating valid and coherent data/knowledge on how human (and animal) migration routes and dynamics are influenced by conflicts and situations of socio-political uncertainty;
  • Identifying risk factors for the spread of animal diseases in relation to changes in mobility associated with conflicts as well as trade schemes in such areas of conflict;
  • Adapting and testing a methodology for the gathering of data and information on the emergence and spread of diseases in areas of conflict. Therefore, data related to the migration routes of human beings and domestic animals will be gathered by using Participatory Approaches (Participatory Rural Appraisals and Participatory Epidemiology), which are mainly based on interviews to groups and key informants, on the creation of interactive maps and on field inspections in strategic areas. The collected data will then be combined with the Animal Disease Notification System data (ADNS) and the data obtained from important migration organizations such as IOM, UNDESA, IDMC, UNHCR etc.


WP3 activities will mainly be held in 3 macro areas:

  • Border areas in the Middle East: between Syria and Turkey and Syria and Lebanon;
  • Border areas in the Balkan region;
  • Border areas between Ukraine, Romania, Moldova and Hungary

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