Foot and mouth disease: are we prepared for an outbreak?

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Vosloo, Wilna; Breed, Andrew; Capon, Tim; Durr, Peter; Maru, Yiheyis; Hernandez-Jover, Marta


Conference Material

Australian Veterinary Association Conference, Perth, Australia, 9 May 2019


Several transboundary animal diseases threaten the Australian livestock industries. Of these, FMD would have a significant veterinary public health impact with direct and indirect costs amounting to billions of dollars and potentially years of lost trade. To ensure we are prepared should such an incursion occur, a team of scientists and other stakeholders have been working on developing tools that will assist in early recognition of disease and accurate diagnosis. In addition, computer applications are being developed that will assist decision makers during an outbreak to help trace the disease and also to cost the control decisions and their impact. Complex problems that require foresight and novel thinking are best addressed by multidisciplinary teams. The FMD Ready Project aims to improve preparedness by focusing on four different areas that could improve our response times and effectiveness. Not only is it important to ensure access to fast and accurate diagnostic tools, but it is essential that on-farm surveillance is sensitive to ensure diseases are detected in a timely manner. The social factors that impact on surveillance need to be understood and novel approaches for collaboration between stakeholders trialled. Several pilot groups have been established across various industries that involve role players across the production chain. Once an outbreak is recognised, the most efficient and ideally cost-effective control strategies need to be implemented. Australia has a FMD vaccine bank, and the decision to vaccinate may have a major effect on the duration of an outbreak and the subsequent economic impact. Animal trials to test the vaccines in the bank have shown that these vaccines are efficacious despite the high amount of variation in field viruses, whilst also providing data on virus excretion that could be useful in disease models. The Australian national model of livestock disease spread and control (AADIS), that helps predict the potential success of outbreak control, is now being updated to cost the decisions made. During an outbreak it is also important to trace the spread of the disease and a novel application that uses short distance wind dispersion and genomic information will assist in this complex task of understanding the routes of disease spread. With these new tools and novel approaches to surveillance, Australia is better prepared not only for an incursion of FMD, but many other transboundary animal diseases as well.

Australian Veterinary Association

Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences not elsewhere classified


Conference Abstract


Vosloo, Wilna; Breed, Andrew; Capon, Tim; Durr, Peter; Maru, Yiheyis; Hernandez-Jover, Marta. Foot and mouth disease: are we prepared for an outbreak?. In: Australian Veterinary Association Conference; 9 May 2019; Perth, Australia. Australian Veterinary Association; 2019. 1p. csiro:EP193604.

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