Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor)
Branch History

Branch History

The FGBI “ARRIAH” Branch in the Republic of Crimea was established pursuant to Order of the Rosselkhoznadzor No. 140 of March 28, 2014 at the premises of the Crimean Experimental Station under the National Scientific Centre “Institute of Clinical and Experimental Veterinary Medicine”. The specific scientific and research veterinary institution has been existing since the 19th century.

Foundation Background

In those distant ages the station foundation was conditioned by the process of industrial development and veterinary situation in the Empire.

The abolition of serfdom in 1861 facilitated a rampant development of capitalism in Russia. Industrial production got a boost, new factories and plants were built, urban population grew, new goods and money relationships were established. Technical progress was noted in agriculture too. Production volumes of crop and livestock products increased. Number of domestic animals grew bigger. Herds of many thousand horses and cattle were pastured in the Black sea steppes.

At that time the Tauric Province occupied the area of 59 thousand square kilometers and covered Crimean territory and southern part of the Kherson and Zaporozhian Oblasts.

Increase in the number of animal population resulted in a dramatically severe epizootic situation in the region.  Anthrax became a bane for livestock production at those times. Every year devastating epidemics of this disease caused huge losses for animal owners and killed thousands of animals. In the south of the country anthrax affected mainly sheep and cattle. In Central Russia, Siberia and in the east horses and cattle were the target. At that time it was already known that anthrax is caused by a specific microbe; pure culture of this microbe was prepared by R. Koch (1876) and L. Pasteur (1877). Some years later L. Pasteur in France and L.S. Tsenkovsky, Professor of the Kharkov Veterinary Institution in Russia developed a vaccine against anthrax. The efficacy of the preparations was tested by numerous scientific and commercial trials in different animals.

Practical use of anthrax vaccine for mass immunization of sheep, cattle and horses became highly needed.

Station Establishment and Development in the end of the 19th, early 20th centuries

On February 22, 1897 the Government of the Tauric Province in Simferopol opened a Veterinary Office. This was the beginning of the FGBI “ARRIAH” Branch history in the Republic of Crimea.

The Director of this new structure became A.N. Zhuka. The staff included the head of the office, a senior provincial veterinarian and an analyst. 29 veterinarians were employed in the province in the beginning 20th century.

The Office was responsible for culturing of anthrax vaccine and control of its use on farms. Thanks to preventive immunizations anthrax epidemics were successfully eradicated in Tauric steppe areas.

In 1903 the Veterinary Office was renamed into the Veterinary Bacteriological Laboratory. A specially designated building was built for this purpose by the provincial government. This contributed to the improvement of laboratory capacities and enabled to start production of erysipelas vaccine, collection and storage of sheep vaccine lymph and continue production of anthrax vaccines. The Laboratory carried out diagnostics of such mass animal diseases like glanders, bovine tuberculosis, etc.

In 1931 the Veterinary and Bacteriological Institution was established on the basis of the Veterinary Bacteriological Laboratory. Its tasks included production of vaccines and sera against anthrax, erysipelas, pasteurellosis and some other preparations.

In 1935 the Institute was renamed into the Crimean Experimental Station under the National Scientific Centre “Institute of Clinical and Experimental Veterinary Medicine”. The Station stopped production of biological preparations and became completely involved into research and scientific activities aimed at the study of animal and poultry disease spread, epidemiology, prevention and treatment. In cooperation with practicing veterinarians a huge work was done to detect tuberculosis and brucellosis affected cattle on Crimean farms. Horses were surveyed for glanders, vaccination of sheep against sheep pox was introduced. Studies devoted to helminth and ixodic tick faunas of the Peninsula animals were started, as well as rabbit and bee disease research.

Yu. F. Nesterova, K. L. Semenchuk. Ye. I. Skripnik significantly contributed to the solution of the mentioned tasks. During her fruitful years (1935 – 1960) at the Station, Yevdokia I. Skripnik, Doctor of Sciences (Veterinary Medicine), was the first to diagnose and describe candidiasis of udder in cattle. She proved that diplococci play a crucial role in the etiology of mass calve diseases. She developed and arranged the production of specific sera for treatment and prevention of these diseases.

Due to peculiarities of climate and territorial location Crimea is endemic in blood parasitic infections of livestock, and this motivated the necessity to study this issue. The first researchers who devoted a lot of time and efforts to studies of ixodic tick fauna in Crimea were V. I. Kurchatova and B. D. Sokolova, dealing with these issues in the 30-40-ies of the last century. They collected data on spread and propagation seasonality of ixodic ticks and host animals species associated with hemosporidial infections of domestic animals.

Vast pastures and mild climate favourable for nearly all-year-round cattle grazing facilitated development of sheep farming in the Crimea (sheep population amounted to 1.5 billion by 1980). Much attention was paid to prevention and eradication of small ruminant diseases.

A lot of effort was put in the study of etiology and control methods for mixed respiratory sheep diseases. It was established that pathological processes in the respiratory tract of sheep had an associative character. Co-members of these associations are viruses (adenovirus, rotavirus, parainfluenza-1), bacteria (pasteurella, myсoplasma, streptococcus, staphylococcus), helminthes (dictyocaulus, mulleria, prostogonim, cystocaulus). Later a theory of bronchial pneumonia treatment with antibacterial and anthelmintic drugs using aerosol spraying and smoke pellets was developed (D.Yu. Khala, V.A. Volkolupova, Yu.A. Kuznetzov, 1985-1990).

In the pre-war years 33 specialists worked at the station including 10 Candidates of Science.

During the war some station workers fought at the fronts of the Great Patriotic War, others were evacuated inland to the East, and some survived the horror of the Nazi invasion. In 1945 the staff of the station comprised 14 people, four of which were candidates of science.

Despite considerable hardships due to poor equipment the station team kept working on improvement of mass animal disease control. This work was done in close cooperation with the specialists of the Crimean holdings, raion and oblast authorities.

Therefore, effective methods of tuberculosis, brucellosis and glanders control were developed. The Crimea Oblast was the first in Ukraine to eliminate these diseases. For several decades already there has been sustainable freedom from these severe diseases.

Post war years, end of the 20th century –beginning of the 21st century

During the post war time egg and poultry meat production was gradually increasing. That’s why intensive poultry production influenced the course of the well-known poultry diseases and new previously not reported diseases emerged.

Historical analysis of infectious poultry diseases in the Crimea demonstrates that viral diseases were most significant. Thus, in 60s-70s Newcastle disease was studied by V.G. Bogdanov, V.I. Sikachina, 1997. Whole blood agglutination test was developed and applied for the first time. It enabled developing Newcastle disease rapid diagnosis technique.

In 1995-2005 KNIVS researchers carried out a profound study of such diseases: infectious laryngotracheitis, duck virus enteritis, Gambaro disease, Newcastle disease, mycoplasmosis (V.F. Makogon, V.G. Bogdanov, Ye. A. Belyavtsev).

Among viral diseases of commercial poultry reported in the Crimea during the last decade were: highly pathogenic avian influenza, infectious bursal disease, infectious laryngotracheitis, Marek’s disease.

In 2005, 2006 and 2008 highly pathogenic avian influenza was reported in the Crimea. Totally within this period 26 infected areas/settlements were detected where 265,110 birds died and were destroyed.

In 2010 infectious bursal disease outbreak was reported at a poultry establishment AOOO “Southern-Holding” in the Republic of Crimea. The disease development on this establishment was characterized by an unexpected start and rapid disease spread.

In 2011 infectious laryngotracheitis outbreak was reported at the same establishment in vaccinated poultry of 150-162 days of age.

In 2013 Marek’s disease was reported in unimmunized pullets on a backyard farm of the Simferopol Raion.

The specialists of the Laboratory for Avian Diseases participated in elimination of the specified above diseases. The specialists of the Laboratory were always in the focus of infection, performed material sampling, agent isolation, and primary agent identification, studied their biological properties, and developed the strategy of the disease control.

valuable work on studying blood parasitic infections and their carriers, ixodic ticks, was done in 1950-1970 by M.V. Kartashov, D.K. Nechnenny, .I. Kuthatov, V.M. Romanov. Their activities were focused on development of measures aimed at tick and animal blood parasite (cattle, small ruminants, horses) control. As a result of the work done aerosol method of ectoparasite control in facilities and pastures was recommended and implemented. Relationships between ixodic ticks and Haemosporidia were studied, methods of blood parasitic infection prevention were developed.

their tick-carriers became topical again. In particular after 1991 because of perestroika processes in the agricultural sector regular preventive sheep treatment with antiprotoazal and acaricidal agents was stopped. Due to that sheep morbidity caused by blood parasite infections – anaplasmosis and babesiosis sharply increased. The specialists of the station V.A. Volkolupova, V.A. Pinchuk, M.A. Passunkina, N.G. Onishenko performed work aimed at studying species diversity of the fauna ixodic tick complex, sheep parasite, in the Crimea, improving diagnostic measures and developing the system of sheep blood parasitic infection prevention.

The station specialists I.V. Loparev, I.F. Golubev, A.D. Krinochkin and V.V. Litvinenko (1957-1969) developed and applied the aerosol method of bovine lungworm Dictyocaulus viviparous prevention and treatment using aluminium iodide.

The station specialists performed profound studies of echinococcus and trichinellosis (Yu. G. Artemenko, 1980-1985). Epizootology of these infestations was studied. The fact that these agents have many strains as well as their ability to infect only specific animal species was proved and trichinellosis serological diagnosis was developed.

There were hard times in the history of the Crimean Experimental Station. Starting from 90-ies of the last century when the USSR collapsed the Station staff had to survive. The financing of scientific and research works, purchase of equipment, materials, scientific literature almost stopped, the staff number was significantly reduced from 50 to 12 employees. During winter season the temperature in laboratory facilities was 6.0 – 8.0ºC due to finance lack for heating system maintenance.

Nevertheless, notwithstanding the difficulties faced the work was continued. The laboratory staff was basically busy with scientific consultations rendered to farm workers when the latter needed to solve veterinary problems related to livestock feeding.

A small range of bacteriological, parasitological and mycological tests was carried out, the nutrition values of different feed types were determined. Due to the lack of finance for new equipment purchase and staff training many up-to-date techniques to diagnose infectious animal diseases, like ELISA and PCR, were not available.

Our Times

After in 2014 the FGBI “ARRIAH” Branch was established in the Republic of Crimea all the gained scientific experience and methodical approaches to laboratory tests developed during the long years of Station operation remained within the walls of a reorganized institution.

Currently the Laboratory for Avian Diseases, Laboratory for Infectious Animal Disease Diagnostics, Laboratory for Ichtyopathology and Fish and Invertebrate Veterinary and Sanitary Testing, Laboratory for Food Safety are operating.

Transfer of the Crimean Experimental Station under the subordination to the All-Russian Scientific and Research Institution for Animal Health as a Branch became a new step in the development of the Laboratory for Infectious Animal Disease Diagnostics. Nowadays 4 persons are employed by this Laboratory; two of them are Candidates of Sciences. The basic activity of the laboratory is epizootological monitoring aimed at the determination of infectious animal disease introduction and spread risk, diagnostic services rendered to livestock establishments and private animal owners.

Within the National Epizootological Monitoring laboratory tests by serological and molecular-biological methods are carried out.  1,080 bovine sera samples were tested for bluetongue and Schmallenberg viruses by ELISA. 58 samples of pathological material from small ruminants for bluetongue virus genome and 145 samples of pathological material from wild and domestic pigs and RTE meat products from Ukraine were tested for ASFV genome by PCR.

The laboratory staff within the scientific and research project called “Development of hazard identification system and determination of veterinary risks of pathogen introduction into the RF territory with imported live animals and animal products, forecasting of their occurrence and development in the light of the Veterinary Service preparedness” vectors and habitat of blood-sucking insects, vectors of transmissive ruminant infections (bluetongue and Schmallenberg disease) are studied. For this purpose insect traps to collect midges and mosquitoes are located on Crimean farms, in parallel meteorological parameters are registered (temperature, air flow speed, precipitation).

For more than a year of operation of the Laboratory for Infectious Animal Disease Diagnostics a real technological revolution took place. The reconstruction and major repair of laboratory facilities in compliance with the European standards are being finished; new laboratory equipment is being installed, documents to receive the right for Pathogenicity Groups III-IV microorganisms are being prepared. The qualifications of specialists have been significantly improved: the laboratory staff was trained in diagnostics of infectious animal diseases, took part in the seminar devoted to ASF control.

Personnel of the Laboratory for Avian Diseases are mainly engaged in control of infectious diseases in commercial and domestic poultry on the peninsula and that is achieved by means of the continuous monitoring.

На данный момент в лаборатории трудятся 6 сотрудников: 1 кандидат ветеринарных наук, 2 специалиста с высшим профильным образованием, один из которых

Currently there are six employees in the laboratory: one Candidate of Science (Veterinary Science), two qualified experts, one of them is a post-graduate student in the FGBI ARRIAH, and three research assistants.

Monitoring tests will be always of importance for the Republic of Crimea due to the geographical position of the peninsula. The Crimea is located in the intersection of the birds’ migratory routes, and Azov and Black Sea basin is the site of spring and autumn stays and wintering of large quantity of wild waterfowl. All these facts facilitate spread of dangerous infections. According to the calculations of ornithologists and experts of the Official Veterinary Service only in autumn and spring over 25 million birds cross the territory of the peninsula and 10 million of them stay for the winter. Certain part of these birds cross the peninsula during annual spring migration from the African continent.

In addition to the monitoring tests the Laboratory for Avian Diseases performs serological tests of biological material collected from poultry within the contracts with poultry farmers and backyard poultry owners. The laboratory researchers offer consultations on methods for avian disease diagnosis and control. They also consult on p oultry maintenance and feeding and provide the poultry owners with scientifically based opinions.

Up-to-date diagnostic equipment was purchased for the activities of the Laboratory for Avian Diseases (ELISA test machine) that allows for rapid serological testing of poultry blood samples for maternal, post-vaccination and diagnostic antibodies against almost all poultry viruses.

During 2014-2015 the number of ELISA serological tests amounted to 500 tests and HI amounted to 230 tests. The Laboratory staff additionally develops accreditation documentation (standard operating procedures for serological tests, operating instructions for available equipment).

In the nearest future, as soon as the reconstruction is completed, the equipment for molecular and genetic tests (PCR) is planned to be acquired. Introduction of the new diagnostic test method will take the laboratory to the new stage of its development. It will allow for rapid and high quality diagnosis of avian infectious diseases, research of molecular and biological properties of avian infectious disease agents.

Activities of the FGBI ARRIAH Branch are aimed at food safety assurance in the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, official monitoring of highly dangerous zoonotic diseases and at research activities.

All interested staff members were retained and they continue their research activities aimed at animal health maintenance in the Crimea. In order to increase the staff new working places were established and staff schedule was approved to include 61 staff members. Currently four Candidates of Science and 20 qualified experts are employed in the Branch.