Entomological surveillance for Rift Valley Fever in Libya



“Virtual Learning Rift Valley Fever and other Mosquito-borne arboviroses: entomological surveillance” is the title of a training course designed by Isitituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise (IZSAM), in collaboration with ERFAN (Enhancing Research for Africa Network), on behalf of the FAO European Commission for the Control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (EuFMD).


This initiative is in line with the recommendations of the Joint Permanent Committee of the Mediterranean Animal Health network REMESA and is supported by its Regional Coordination Unit made up of the FAO Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases for North Africa and the OIE Sub-Regional Representation for North Africa.


Rift Valley Fever (RVF) is a mosquito-borne zoonosis, which may cause significant losses for the livestock sector and have serious public health implications. RVF is endemic in most of the sub-Saharan countries, and appeared in Libya on 12 December 2019. Since then, seven RVF outbreaks were reported in the area.

In the framework of the "HOLD-FAST" strategy, aimed at improving animal health security through better preparedness and reduced risk of Foot-and-mouth And Similar Transboundary animal diseases, the EuFMD and the Libyan NCAH agreed on a series of activities to protect livestock and humans from RVF.


Thanks to the collaboration with the ERFAN network, the EuFMD has identified IZSAM as a reliable partner to cope with the emerging training needs in Libya, designing a pilot project potentially transferable to other sub-Saharan Countries with similar critical issues.


The first part of the virtual course took place from 1 to 15 July 2020 and was aimed at training experts from Libyan research institutes and universities on the species of mosquitoes, their epidemiological role in the transmission of the various arboviruses and on the methods for collecting and analysing samples.


This innovative learning path, developed by Training and Entomology IZSAM Units, was delivered in a webinar format. The challenge was to recreate at distance those laboratory training and mentoring methods on which the Institute has always had invested trough twinning and international cooperation projects. Since the current pandemic situation does not allow the implementation of training activities in a face-to-face mode, the format has been redesigned in an innovative structure, combining different methodologies, to ensure the same impact on the participants. This designed pilot project serves also as a model transferable and adaptable to other contexts.

Among the others, a key element of the training was the use of HD Stereomicroscope in videoconferencing, adopted as an excellent tool for the on-the-job training. Learners were able to study and apply the identification techniques of the species of vectors and, through synchronous interaction tools such as chat, Q&A and instant polls, their progresses were monitored and assessed constantly by tutors.


The training is now proceeding with the in-field project work activity, aimed at implementing entomological surveillance in risk locations.

Thanks to the constant backstop support of experts from EuFMD and IZSAM, coordinated by Fabrizio Rosso, Shahin Bayomi, Maria Goffredo e Barbara Alessandrini, participants are preparing a draft surveillance plan, identifying the sites for collecting the samples, placing the traps, managing and analysing the collected samples, and evaluating the results obtained.

The project work has been designed in order to guarantee a robust remote guided support: participants will be able to apply the acquired knowledge and will be constantly accompanied trough interim monitoring web meetings, the presence of an expert facilitator on site, a help-desk service. At the end of the project work, a final follow-up session will summarise the results of the in-field activity and will represent a fundamental step to evaluate the impact of the training.






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© IZSAM July 2020
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Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale

dell'Abruzzo e del Molise "G. Caporale"


Campo Boario | 64100 TERAMO | ITALIA

Telefono 0039.0861.3321 | Fax 0039.0861.332251

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