|How Barbados is preparing for Avian Influenza|
|Written by Heather Hall|
|Wednesday, 09 March 2016 14:00|
Following the recent outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in North America and Canada, Barbados has increased wild bird surveillance and has put measures in place to improve biosecurity within the poultry industry. As part of their preparedness, they have also begun strengthening the capacity of their Veterinary Services Laboratory (VSL) to perform molecular diagnostics targeting avian influenza.
In October 2015, Dr. Julie-Ann Hinkson and Dr. Kelly Brathwaite of the VSL participated in a 6-week training programme at Cirad-INRA, Guadeloupe. Training was administered through Power Point presentations, reading material and hands-on practical learning, where the participants were taught how to handle and manipulate potentially infectious samples under increased biosecurity measures. They both successfully isolated the virus and on completion of their training, had gained sufficient knowledge and skills to enable setting up of a molecular diagnostics unit at the VSL. The training was facilitated by The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) through funding by the 10th European Development Funds SPS Project.
Dr. Brathwaite (left) and Dr. Hinkson during a practical training session at Cirad
(Photo credit: Mrs. Claire Fritsch, Technician/Cirad-INRA)
Dr. Julie-Ann Hinkson graduated from University of The West Indies School of Veterinary Medicine in 1997 with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (DVM). In 2015, she completed a Masters of Veterinary Studies (MVS) in Pathology at Massey University New Zealand with emphasis on PCR as a diagnostic tool. Dr. Hinkson is currently stationed at Veterinary Services Laboratory to augment the Avian Influenza (AI) detection program by testing for AI by Reverse Transcription-qPCR.
Dr. Kelly Brathwaite was recently awarded a PhD in Food Sciences from the University of Nottingham, where her research focused on biocontrol of the food-borne pathogen Campylobacter jejuni. During her studies she was exposed to RNA-sequencing technology, but the highlight of her PhD was publishing the genome sequence of the Campylobacter strain that she worked on for her thesis. She is currently assigned to the Veterinary Services Laboratory, where she is working to establish veterinary molecular diagnostic testing and molecular detection of pathogens in food.
Reproduced with permission from CaribVet.net