Centre for the study of transborder and emergent diseases and zoonosys is the youngest department of the Danube Delta National Institute of Research – Development – Tulcea approved for establishment in 2015 and materialized in 2016. Currently the department is a small team but is in full development, being targeted the completion of the acquisition of laboratory and field equipment and components and human resources development.
The interest of Danube Delta National Institute of Research – Development in the study of zoonosys involving birds and mammals begins in the year of 2004, a year when it was invited to participate in an international project (PF 6 – Emerging Diseases in a changing European Environment, 49 partners, 24 countries from 2005 to 2010) by Pasteur Institute in Paris and Cantacuzino Institute in Bucharest. Subsequently, in several national and international projects (EDENext – 2011-2015 AMSAR – 2015-2017) it was created a research group in the field. By diversifying research skills, collaboration with prestigious European teams and participating in visits and international conferences it has appeared the initiative of establishing a Department with this profile. From the beginning, it was decided to investigate pathogenic agents not only in terms of human and domestic livestock damage but also in terms of wildlife conservation. We remind that in 2015 over 100 breeding individuals of Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) in Romania have died from bird flu virus (H5N1) – which is a significant proportion of the national population of this species (about 300 pairs) endangered at regional level. European Mink (Mustela lutreola), one of the rarest mammals in Europe is on the brink of extinction (also due to a large number of pathogens) on its habitat and The Danube Delta is one of the last its refuges.
A number of factors have caused the proliferation of different pathogens vectors: climate change, land use change, changes in farming practices, deforestation, irrigation, hydrological planning and other more. Danube Delta, being the breeding area or just the migration area of millions of migratory birds, is the main gate of entrance of an impressive series of pathogens. To all this, we can add increasing resistance of pathogens vectors to chemical control actions and the accelerate growth of transcontinental movement.
The role of the department is improving the knowledge of ecology of disease vectors and reservoir species that transmit cross border and emerging diseases and zoonosys within in the Danube Delta and surroundings.
Valorisation of the Department’s research will be through scientific substantiation to be used by Romanian National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority, Sanitary Direction and Food Safety Tulcea, Public Health Department, Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve and ministries in relation to Directive 2003/99/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the monitoring of zoonosys and zoonotyc agents. Also, information will be provided in advance of the presence of pathogens, vectors or reservoir species involved in the transmission and amplification of infectious diseases thus providing an opportunity for the authorities to initiate contingency plans.