A workshop on animal botulism was held in Uppsala, Sweden, in June 2012. Its purpose was to explore the current status of the disease in Europe by gathering the European experts in animal botulism and to raise awareness of the disease among veterinarians and others involved in biopreparedness. Animal botulism is underreported and underdiagnosed, but an increasing number of reports, as well as the information gathered from this workshop, show that it is an emerging problem in Europe. The workshop was divided into 4 sessions: animal botulism in Europe, the bacteria behind the disease, detection and diagnostics, and European collaboration and surveillance. An electronic survey was conducted before the workshop to identify the 3 most needed discussion points, which were: prevention, preparedness and outbreak response; detection and diagnostics; and European collaboration and surveillance. The main conclusions drawn from these discussions were that there is an urgent need to replace the mouse bioassay for botulinum toxin detection with an in vitro test and that there is a need for a European network to function as a reference laboratory, which could also organize a European supply of botulinum antitoxin and vaccines. The foundation of such a network was discussed, and the proposals are presented here along with the outcome of discussions and a summary of the workshop itself.
Biosecurity and Bioterrorism, 2013, Vol 11, Issue 1