August 12, 2003
Translation: FTAA Secretariat
FTAA – NEGOTIATING GROUP ON AGRICULTURE
SPECIFIC PROJECT PROFILE WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE HEMISPHERIC
COOPERATION PROGRAM: TRAINING OF PROFESSIONALS AND TECHNICIANS IN
VETERINARY DIAGNOSTICS AND FOOD-BORNE DISEASES (FBDS), INCLUDING MODERN
METHODOLOGIES AND PROCESSES TO DETECT AND IDENTIFY FBDS AND ILLNESSES IN
- Project Title
Training of Professionals and Technicians in veterinary diagnostics and
food-borne diseases (FBDs), including modern methodologies and processes to
detect and identify FBDs and illnesses in domestic animals.
Since 1973, animal health laboratories have been performing tests based on
national and international technical standards, in accordance with the
conventional animal disease diagnostic methods certified by the OIE, the FDA,
and other agencies. By the eighties and nineties, these laboratories had only
set up parasitology and serology facilities for some diseases. The Central
Laboratory was located on campus at the Central American University (Spanish
acronym UCA), pursuant to an agreement with MAGFOR, the Ministry of Agriculture
and Forestry. With funding from the Inter-American Development Bank in 1995, the
laboratory was moved to its current location on the premises of the General
Agricultural Protection and Health Administration and provided with more modern
equipment, culture media, and sufficient laboratory reactive agents and inputs
to perform, both centrally and regionally, every technique required to
efficiently serve all cattle, horse, sheep, goat, and pig breeders in Nicaragua.
By the seventies, eighties, and part of the nineties, close to 7,200 lab tests
were performed. This figure had increased 100 percent by 1995. Currently, up to
45,000 tests are performed annually. Services are provided to animal importers
and exporters; domestic producers of animal products and byproducts; cattle
breeders; institutions involved with our activities, and centers engaged in
Conventional methods such as cultures, McMaster chambers, Baermann funnels, and
biochemical testing are generally used to isolate and identify bacteria,
parasites, and viruses, as well as food-borne diseases. In virology, the
comparative method is often used with chicken embryos and some cell lines, and
key morphological structures are accordingly dissected to obtain a diagnosis.
This makes it necessary to implement modern rapid tests such as PCR, molecular
probes, and DNA identification to meet the demands of domestic and international
trade in animals and animal products and byproducts.
At the Animal Health Laboratories of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of
Nicaragua, technicians test samples by employing conventional methods that have
been in use for at least one decade. The conventional process is believed to be
effective, although it requires an average of three to ten days to obtain the
results. The trade globalization processes in which Nicaragua is involved
require quick and effective solutions. Conventional testing for diagnosing
animal diseases and food-borne diseases (FDBs), though reliable, is slow, which
ultimately makes imported animal products and byproducts more expensive. Rapid
diagnostic testing would greatly diminish the turnaround time of lab results,
and products sold locally would be much healthier.
The climate in Nicaragua's land borders is extremely hot, which directly affects
the state of imported and/or exported animals. Many quarantine ports lack
sufficient space to serve the public adequately. Besides countless restrictions
in terms of infrastructure and staff in each port, waiting up to eight days to
obtain laboratory results further compounds the problem.
- Purpose of Project
Train technicians performing zoosanitary diagnostics in modern testing and
identification techniques for animal diseases and food-borne diseases (FBDs).
- Train microbiology professionals and technicians in modern diagnostic
techniques that will allow emerging pathogenic microorganisms to be identified.
- Train virology professionals and technicians in detecting animal diseases
through PCR testing and molecular probes.
- Train parasitology professionals and technicians in [detecting] and
identifying gastrointestinal parasites, ectoparasites, and hemoparasites through
DNA testing and other types of rapid procedures.
- Train immunoserology professionals and techniques in detecting animal
diseases through PCR testing, immunoenzymatic assays (ELISA) and other types of
- Train food professionals and technicians in detecting and
identifying food-borne diseases (FBDs), through rapid and conventional testing.
- Inputs: Resources required for the project
- North or South American laboratory where DNA and PCR tests, molecular
probes, and other rapid tests are performed to detect veterinary diseases and
- Training facilities for eight individuals
- Eight airline tickets (US$ 5,600.00)
- Per diems for eight trainees (for one month each). (US$ 28,000.00)
- Purchase of equipment and basic reactives to perform tests in Nicaragua
after training is completed (US$ 175,800.00)
- Results expected
- Nicaragua’s animal health laboratory technicians detect and identify animal
diseases in a maximum period of eight (8) to twelve (12) hours.
- Cattle breeders, importers, and exporters will benefit, as well as
Nicaraguans in general, who will ultimately purchase disease-free animals and
better quality food products.
- Faster turnaround of diagnostic results.