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Foot and Mouth Disease

Introduction:

The project ‘Improved Surveillance, Preparedness and Return to Trade for Emergency Animal Disease Incursions Using Foot and Mouth Disease as a Model’ (The Project) aims to strengthen preparedness for an emergency animal disease outbreak and facilitate an earlier return to trade for Australia following control of such a disease, using foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) as a model.

This Project is supported by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), through funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural Research & Development for Profit programme, and by producer levies from Australian FMD-susceptible livestock (cattle, sheep, goats and pigs) industries and Charles Sturt University (CSU), leveraging significant in-kind support from the research partners.

The research partners for this project are the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), CSU through the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, supported by Animal Health Australia (AHA).

The challenge:

Australia’s biosecurity system helps protect our livestock industries from many disease threats. However, there is a need to strengthen preparedness and response to facilitate an early return to trade for Australia should there be an emergency animal disease incursion.

FMD is currently regarded as one of the most economically and socially devastating livestock disease threats to Australia which could cost this country up to $50 billion over 10 years, should a multi-state outbreak occur. Because of the impact of this disease it is being used as a model to help us improve surveillance, preparedness and return to trade for other emergency animal diseases.

The Project will also contribute to improving the way Australia manages endemic diseases through the work being done in the strengthening of disease recognition and management.

Our response:

This Project combines the expertise of research partners from several disciplines, working closely with livestock industries and jurisdictions to deliver approaches that will enhance emergency animal disease surveillance, preparedness and response in Australia.

The Project consists of four integrated sub projects that look into ways Australia can prevent, control and manage an emergency animal outbreak. These sub-projects include improving on-farm livestock surveillance, investigating response strategies, managing vaccines and determining how disease is spread.

The sub projects are:

  1. Rapid Diagnostics and Vaccination Strategy Preparedness
  2. Farmer-led surveillance
  3. Outbreak decision support tools
  4. Disease transmission path analysis

Project leaders:

Wilna Vosloo
Principal Research Scientist/Team Leader/Project Spokesperson/CEO Global FMD Research Alliance

Australian Animal Health Laboratory

Ph (03) 5227 5015

E Wilna.Vosloo@csiro.au

Johann Schröder
Meat and Livestock Australia
Project Manager – Research and Development

Dr Andy Sheppard
CSIRO
Research Director

Wilna is a research scientist who obtained her PhD in 1998 at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She has worked on FMD for nearly 30 years. In 2008 she moved to Australia to take on a job at the CSIRO-Australian Animal Health Laboratory and is currently a Principal Research Scientist responsible for the FMD research programme at AAHL. She has managed Phases 1 and 2 of the FMD Risk Management Project, funded by MLA through funding provided by all the affected industries and managed by AHA.

Wilna serves as one of seven international members on the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) FMD ad hoc Group on the Evaluation of FMD Status of Member Countries and is the CEO of the Global FMD Research Alliance.  She also serves on the Vaccine Expert Advisory Group and Vaccine Bank Contract Committee in Australia.

Wilna is the spokesperson for The Project.

Johann specialised in parasitology whilst working in the pharmaceutical industry in South Africa, Germany and Australia for 31 years, where he was engaged in product development and technical services. Johann has been a project manager in animal health and biosecurity in the Rural R&D Corporation environment since 2006, with Meat & Livestock Australia since 2009.

Dr Sheppard is a Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO. He leads or has led international collaborative research in Australia, USA, Europe and South Africa on the ecological management of national priority weeds and pests in Australia, principally using biological control. His primary research interests are around invasion biology. He is Research Director in CSIRO Health & Biosecurity Program – Managing Invasive Species & Diseases. He has also been director of CSIRO’s European Research laboratory in Montpellier France since 2002.