A delegation of scientists from the Palestinian Territories and Israel visited RIVM between 2 and 7 September 2015. The focus of their visit was the transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans via vectors, such as mosquitoes, flies and ticks. The visit contributed to improving public health and to advancing cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

Close cooperation between scientists from different countries is essential in the prevention of infectious diseases because such diseases are not hampered by national borders. “The visit must contribute to improving public health and to forging links between Israel and the Palestinian Territories, thus showing we can bridge differences. ” Mr Bert Koenders, Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The scientists’ visit to the Netherlands was made possible by the Dutch Foundation Friends of the Hebrew University Jerusalem and was a cooperation of the Foundation, RIVM and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  In addition to the reception and meetings at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and RIVM, the delegation visited the drinking water company Zuid Holland West (Dunea) and the Hoge Veluwe National Park. Both parties are committed to working together with RIVM and Wageningen University in an intervention study on Lyme’s disease .

RIVM has a coordinating role in the Netherlands in identifying and preventing infectious diseases transferred from infected animals to humans (zoonoses), and thus works closely with the veterinary sector. In addition, RIVM advises international organisations on zoonoses, including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), World Health Organisation (WHO), and UN United Nations  (United Nations ) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).