Sub-project 4 – July 2019

July 22nd, 2019

Work has begun on the revised build of SPREAD, a modelling tool which will help us better understand how the FMD virus might spread via natural pathways, should an outbreak occur in Australia.

In preparation for the new development, the sub-project 4 team have continued work with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) to gather data ready to feed into the SPREAD model.

As SPREAD is designed to be run during an emergency animal disease outbreak, it’s essential that its performance be assessed and optimised beforehand. Thus, the SP4 team have been exploring historical FMD outbreaks where sequencing data of the outbreak isolates and property data is available for testing. A relevant outbreak was one in Denmark in 1982/83, as this implicated the former German Democratic Republic as the source of the virus, and wind dispersion as the pathway. Partial genome sequencing was undertaken on stored isolates from this incursion, and discussions are underway with a Danish laboratory to undertake full genome sequencing, on behalf of SP4, to help validate and ensure the SPREAD model is ready in the event an FMD outbreak occurs in Australia.