Annual Symposium Emergency Animal Disease highlights report

The 5th Annual Emergency Animal Disease (EAD) Symposium was held at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory Geelong, on 17 and 18 October 2018 with more than 100 attendees over the two days.  The following are a few highlights from the symposium which is important not only for updating participants in the latest trends in EAD research, but also for the face-to-face networking opportunity for EAD prevention colleagues and livestock industry participants.

Dr Debbie Eagles highlighted recent trends in vector borne diseases and reminded participants that global warming was likely to have a major effect on vector borne diseases such as bluetongue. The maintenance of the sentinel herd programs and vector collection in northern Australia is an essential component of our early warning system for transboundary disease incursions.

Dr Cameron Stewart gave a very informative presentation on emerging approaches to disease diagnosis. Recent work on microRNAs in Hendra and mastitis in cattle had produced encouraging results in the early detection of Hendra and mastitis in cattle that could be made before the onset of clinical signs.

Dr Jeff Hammond updated the symposium participants on foot and mouth disease.  There was marked long distance spread of the virus, especially from India, with the movement of people as a significant feature.  This eastern spread of the virus from India was perceived as a major threat to Australia and constant vigilance was necessary to prevent an incursion of this virus.

Dr David Williams described the situation with African swine fever (ASF), which is a serious threat to Australia’s pig industry especially if introduced into the estimated 20 million feral pigs in Australia. The southward movement of ASF from China through both direct, and indirect transmission by people, was a major concern. Northern Territory livestock biosecurity efforts have focused on ASF awareness in 2018.

Last updated: 24 September 2019


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