Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, Italy


Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSVe) is a public veterinary institute involved in prevention, control and research activities in three main areas: animal health and welfare, food safety and environmental protection. The headquarter is located in Legnaro (PD), in the North East of Italy, and it belongs to a national network of nine other Italian public veterinary institutes, covering specific geographical areas all over Italy. IZSVe is found in 11 local diagnostic laboratories that are located in the territories of the Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, and Trentino Alto Adige Regions. The Institute is composed by veterinarians, biologists, chemists, technicians and administrative staff.

The IZSVe promotes public health, it guarantees that controls on the food-production chain are performed, and fosters an improved coexistence between human beings and animals. This is achieved by focusing on four main areas: control of foodborne pathogens, prevention and control of animal diseases, technical and scientific research, training and communication.

In the institute there are seven national reference centres: Bee-keeping, Salmonellosis, Avian influenza and Newcastle disease, Infectious diseases at the human-animal interface, Pet therapy, Rabies and Fish, mollusc and crustacean diseases. 

At international level, IZSVe has been appointed as OIE and FAO Reference Laboratory for: Avian Influenza and Newcastle disease (OIE and FAO), Viral encephalo-retinopathy (OIE), Salmonellosis (OIE); and OIE Collaborating Centre for: Epidemiology, training and control of emerging avian diseases and Diseases at the animal/human interface.

The Italian National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for the study and diagnosis of fish, crustacean and mollusc diseases is composed by three national reference laboratories: fish diseases, mollusc pathology and laboratory for crustacean diseases. The NRL has been operating in conformity with UNI/EN/ISO 17025 standards since 2001.

NRL cooperates with European Union Reference Laboratories for fish (Copenhagen-DK), mollusc (La Tremblade-F) and CEFAS (Weymoth-UK).  An experimental aquarium authorized by the Ministry of Health has been established at the NRL, formed by independent tanks of various sizes for conducting experimental infection trials in both freshwater and seawater fish.

The staff is formed by experts from a variety of diagnostic sectors: virology, bacteriology, parasitology, histopathology, molecular biology and epidemiology, all with access to sophisticated modern instruments for correctly diagnosing known and emerging pathologies.

The department has been involved in the development of experimental vaccines for different bacterial fish diseases for many years, and an adjuvanted bacterin was recently successfully employed in field trials. It is also actively involved in the development of an efficacious vaccine against viral retino-encephalopathy, a disease causing a severe neuropathological condition in marine fish, as sea bass.

The department cooperates with the laboratory for the control of crustacean and mollusc hygiene, which is involved in developing new techniques for identifying fish species, evaluating shelf-life and detecting viral foodborne diseases (HAV, Norovirus, enterovirus). It has extensive experience in the control of microbiological parameters of sea water for the classification of bivalve harvesting areas, according to national and EU legislation.

The main activities are:

  • diagnosis of mortality in reared/wild fish and molluscs
  • development of field surveillance plans for fish and mollusc diseases
  • consulting services for veterinarians and farmers
  • consulting services for official regional and national veterinary services
  • development, standardization and distribution of diagnostic reagents
  • development, standardization and distribution of diagnostic assays
  • reference activity on finfish and mollusc diseases and controls for the Ministry of Health
  • applied research on the diagnosis and control of emerging fish, crustacean, and mollusc diseases
  • training of official veterinary service inspectors and researchers from public institutes and universities
  • data collection for epidemiological studies
  • geo-referencing of farms and rivers in the territory of reference
  • provision of expert advice for the Italian Ministry of Health on aquatic animal health issues
  • research in national and international projects.

Besides basic diagnostics (necropsy, bacteriology, virology, histopathology), biomolecular techniques (real-time and RT-PCR, genome sequencing and phylogenetic characterization of strains, MALDI-TOF, pyrosequencing) are now routinely used at the Reference Centre for Fish, Mollusc and Crustacean diseases to correctly  diagnose and characterize isolated viral and bacterial strains.

Project team in WIN-FISH

Dr. Amedeo Manfrin
DVM, graduated in 1989 at University of Bologna, well experienced in the sector of fish bacterial pathogens and vaccines production, above all about salmonids and Mediterranean species. Partner of several national and international project. Adjunct professor on Infectious Diseases, therapy and profhilaxis of fish – Post Graduated Degree in Veterinary Medicine – University of Padova. Tutor in EU Better Training for Safer Food (BTSF) on aquaculture and in many courses preparing and performing to various kind of beneficiaries, mainly fish farmers and veterinarians, for fish diseases and zoonosis control. Expertise on dealing with international (Standing Committee On Food Chain and Animal Health, Standing Committee on Animal Welfare, private expert of European Food Safety Authority, technical expert of FVO – DG SANCO inspection team) national (Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture) and local institutional authorities. Good experience in specific legislation on aquatic animal health conditions for the placing on the market and import of fish and their products and on minimum measures for the prevention, control and eradication of exotic and non exotic diseases.

Dr.ssa Eleonora Fiocchi
Agro-technical degree in aquaculture and hygiene of fish production in December 2012; from April 2013 voluntary and then recipient of scholarship at the institute IZSVe. Currently enrolled in the course at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Master of Science in veterinary medical and pharmaceutical biotechnology. Handling of diagnostics in National Reference Laboratory of fish, mollusc and crustacean diseases and  involved in international projects: ORAQUA-European Organic Aquaculture- Science based recommendations for further development of the EU regulatory framework and to underpin future growth in the sector; ANIHWA “Welfare, Health and Individuality in Farmed Fish-WINFISH”; and in a national project about new innovative methods for stunning and killing rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).

Role within WIN-FISH

WP 3 leader, responsible for experiments investigating welfare aspects of stocking density in the ongrowing phase of sea bream in open flow systems (task 3.2), in collaboration with COISPA Tecnologia & Ricerca (Italy).

Learn more about the work packages of the WIN-FISH project

IZSVe logo

Subcontractor: COISPA

COISPA Tecnologia & Ricerca, Italy is a subcontractor of the ISZVe in the WIN-FISH project.

COISPA is a cooperative society of researchers and technicians run on a non-for-profit basis. COISPA's scope is to realize research and development services in the fields of fishery, aquaculture and the aquatic environment that have real applications, produce results that can be evaluated in relation to pre-established objectives and are coherent with COISPA's vision of natural resource management policy and sustainable use of the natural environment. 

23 JANUARY 2020