Animal parasite event lures world's best

STAFF REPORTERThe West Australian
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An international veterinary conference in Perth this month is expected to lure more than 700 delegates from across the globe.

The 24th International Conference of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology will be opened by Premier Colin Barnett.


Department of Agriculture and Food principal veterinary officer and conference co-convenor Brown Besier said parasites of animals cost farmers significantly in terms of disease and performance, and parasitologists from Australia had made important contributions in reducing these costs.

"Increasing demand for animal protein, especially in the Asia Pacific region, presents exciting opportunities for Western Australia's agriculture and food industries," Dr Besier said.

"With consumers becoming increasingly concerned about where there food comes from, it is vital we maintain the State's reputation for producing safe, high-quality animal products through continued gains in parasitology.

"The conference will showcase the latest advances in research relevant to veterinary parasitology."

Dr Besier will present a paper on a novel vaccine against Barbers Pole worm and he has co-authored other papers to be presented at the conference on managing resistance to sheep and cattle parasites.

Other department scientists to present papers at the conference include Dieter Palmer, Johan Greeff, John Karlsson, Tony Schlink and Jenny Cotter, and biometrician Andrew van Burgel.

Dr Besier said recent department efforts had focused on minimising the impact of parasites on livestock production, estimated to cost Australian sheep and cattle industries more than $1 billion annually.

The department is also investigating the biosecurity risk of importing parasitic diseases and effective detection and surveillance for parasitic diseases from overseas.

"To overcome the problem of resistance by sheep nematodes to drenches in WA, which has a major impact on sheep productivity, the department has played a significant role internationally in the development of sustainable strategies for sheep and cattle worm control," Dr Besier said.

"Our collaboration with the Scottish Moredun Research Institute on the development of the vaccine for Barbers Pole worm, which will be detailed at the conference, is another exciting development of global significance."

Local veterinarians are expected to benefit from the conference through exposure to a diverse range of major international experts and the opportunity to network with senior scientists.

"The conference will present information at the cutting edge of technologies and concepts and will have a major focus on livestock, which is relevant to the local livestock industry," Dr Besier said.

"There are also likely to be opportunities for local institutions to collaborate with visiting experts from overseas and interstate."

The International Conference of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology will be held from August 26-29.

It will be hosted by Murdoch University and the Australian Society for Parasitology.

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