An example of a laboratory twinning initiative between Germany and Turkey on rabies diagnostics

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Turkey is the only European country where dog-mediated rabies predominates. To complement a recently EU co-funded project aimed at developing a sustained EU-compliant rabies eradication programme in Turkey, the German National Reference Laboratory for Rabies formed a partnership (twinning) with the Etlik Central Veterinary Control and Research Institute (ECVCRI) in Ankara for a period of three years with the support of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The overall objective of the laboratory twinning project is to enhance diagnostic capacity and expertise at ECVCRI. During the initial phase of the programme existing capacity, standards, procedures and quality control measures of ECVCR were evaluated and the establishment of a virus archive and a laboratory database initiated and completed. The second stage of the project has focused on training courses or workshops on rabies diagnostics, laboratory quality control measures and use of epidemiological tools for rabies surveillance and control. The third stage aims at strengthening the role of ECVCRI as a Turkish national reference laboratory for rabies. This includes activities related to upcoming supra-regional responsibilities, given the political and cultural position of Turkey as a gateway between Europe and Asia. Personal commitment, motivation and engagement by both parties has made this project already a success and strong and durable partnerships between the two laboratories have been established. Other reference rabies laboratories are encouraged to form similar partnerships with rabies laboratories from countries in need. These projects may also help bridge cultural and political gaps by joint efforts to control rabies.

For in-depth information on standards for diagnosis, communication of results and epidemiological analysis of rabies data needed for a successful rabies surveillance programme, please consult the Rabies Surveillance Blueprint.

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Training courses in Turkey encompassed classical techniques such as the FAT and cell culture as well as molecular diagnostics using real-time PCR

Photos courtesy of Conrad Freuling and Thomas Müller.

FAT = fluorescent antibody test

PCR = polymerase chain reaction

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Version 4 - last updated May 2017