Decision support tools for vector (insect) spread animal disease

Project ID: 1608B
CEBRA Project Leader: Tom Kompas
DAWR Sponsor: Tim Chapman
DAWR Project Leader: Graeme Garner
DAWR Division: Biosecurity Animal Division
MPI Project Manager: N/A
Collaborators: Mark Stevenson (UoM), Kelly Patyk (US Department of Agriculture)

A key component of managing emergency animal disease (EAD) incursions, and minimising their economic impact, is timely and effective decision-making in the face of uncertainty. This requires a good understanding of the potential transmission and control of EADs under Australian conditions. Foot-and-mouth disease is recognised as the single greatest disease threat to Australia’s livestock industries (Matthews 2012), and the Department has invested in the development of a new modelling capability – Australian Animal Disease model (AADIS)—to support FMD preparedness and response. However, there is a range of other disease threats that Australia needs to be prepared for. In particular, arboviral diseases like bluetongue (BT) pose significant challenges due to the involvement of insect vectors that are free-ranging and strongly influenced by weather and landscape factors. BT is an economically important, trade sensitive disease of ruminants. The risk of an outbreak depends on vector competence (ability of the vector to support replication of the virus and then to transmit it to a suitable host), vector capacity (range of the vector, vector abundance, host preference, vector survival) and the availability of susceptible hosts.

Using BT as a case study, this project will modify an existing FMD simulation model to enable it to be used to study spread and control of vector-borne diseases. The project will also provide some initial analyses of spatial spread and management approaches for controlling clinical BT outbreaks. Having a good understanding of the rate and extent of spread of vector-borne diseases, as well as the capacity to test control strategies, will help the Department improve planning, policy development and response for these diseases.

Research program

Data and Information

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