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Epidemiology & Animal Health Management

Select the links below to view the session details. Sessions will be updated as information becomes available.

Wednesday 20 June

The Epidemiology stream and Food Safety, Animal Welfare and Biosecurity stream will join together for this day. The Dairy Cattle stream will join from 11.30am - 12.30pm.

We review the current knowledge on climate change impact on the distribution, incidence and severity of livestock diseases currently endemic in New Zealand and on livestock welfare, and discuss how this can be prioritised and studied further to help preparedness, using facial eczema as an example.

Members of the Epidemiology & Animal Health Management Branch of the NZVA are encouraged to attend.

Tanzania is a hotspot for zoonotic enteric pathogens, including Non-Typhoid Salmonella and Campylobacter. I will use this example to illustrate a multidisciplinary approach to understand emerging livestock meat pathways and associations with human disease. With microbiological testing and epidemiological modelling, social science provides deeper understanding into food safety in Tanzania’s rapidly modernizing meat supply chain.

Influenza risk assessment models can be used to identify priority viruses and target surveillance and control. FLURISK is an avian influenza risk assessment framework that assesses the potential of new influenza viruses or viral subtypes crossing from avian into humans. This paper discusses results from an evaluation exercise of FLURISK.

Epidemiological analysis are often accessed and utilized by non-specialists that may have limited understanding of the complexity and assumptions behind used methods. Interactive user interfaces facilitate layered and customized interactions with epidemiological outputs, enabling users to access and focus on the specific information.

The paper will present a summary of what is known about Mycoplasma bovis in other countries, particularly over the past 10 years when it appears to have become more important in several places. The paper will include a discussion of what was known about Mycoplasma disease in cattle in New Zealand prior to the outbreak in 2017.

In July 2017 the first case of Mycoplasma bovis was diagnosed on a South Canterbury dairy farm.  It was subsequently diagnosed on a second related dairy farm.  The clinical signs seen on these farms consisted primarily of an incurable mastitis, particularly in the dry cows and of a arthritis affecting a front fetlock.

This presentation will provide a brief summary of the clinical disease presentation, pathologic findings, and the presumptive cause of disease in calves culled from affected New Zealand properties as part of the Mycoplasma bovis response in 2017 and 2018.

This presentation provides an overview of the current hypothesis of disease introduction, followed by assessments of the likely source and timing of disease introduction and spread of infection in New Zealand.

Decision making during emergency biosecurity responses needs to be based on sound science, but also take into account many other important factors. This presentation will look at key decisions made during the response to Mycoplasma bovis and explain the context in which those decisions were made and the underlying considerations.

The One Health concept is unifying and inspiring. Networks, consortia, initiatives and commissions have been formed with a One Health brief, and there has been a veritable explosion of activity associated with the term. The concept of interconnectedness of the health and wellbeing of living things on the planet is intuitively understandable and has been promoted over a long period.

Understanding what good animal welfare is and how it can be assessed across a range of environments must be a key priority for ensuring the health and welfare of animals in their association with humans. Until recently animal welfare assessment traditionally relied on measures of physical health, and changes in behaviour and physiology related to negative emotional states such as pain and stress. We now recognize that good welfare is not simply the absence of disease or negative experiences, but also the possibility for, and presence of, positive emotional experiences such as pleasure and even happiness. To ensure that an animal’s welfare needs are met, we need to develop reliable methods for recognizing and assessing the range of animal emotions, as well as judge their importance from the animal’s point of view.

This paper is a worldwide first presenting the key personality characteristics of veterinarians who have proved themselves job fit by surviving more than 30 years in clinical practice. It is suggested that such evidence will better inform the process of selection for admission to veterinary school.

Members of the NZVA and VPIS are encouraged to attend.

This talk will compare antimicrobial use and resistance in animals and humans both globally and locally in New Zealand, and discuss what can be done by both the veterinary and medical professions to reverse the current trend and ensure antibiotics are effective in the future.

A consequence of climate change is the increasing occurrence of natural hazard events, such as flooding, sea level rise, drought, and wildfires. Some populations within New Zealand society will have a greater susceptibility to these natural hazards due to their risk of exposure, sensitivity to environmental stress, and adaptive capacity to manage this stress. Massey University’s College of Health’s Environmental Health Indicators (EHI) team and College of Sciences’ EpiCentre, have established PAWS (people • animals • wellbeing • surveillance), for the public health surveillance of human and animal populations vulnerable to effects of natural hazards.

This talk will cover examples of how PAMU is applying one health principles on farm.

Members of the Food Safety, Animal Welfare and Biosecurity Branch of the NZVA are encouraged to attend.

Thursday 21 June

This presentation gives an overview of the work undertaken by MPI to assist in the control of foot-and-mouth disease.

Since 2016, the Government of New Zealand supports efforts of four countries in South-East Asia (Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam) to control Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) through a risk based approach. The goal is to leverage each country’s endeavours to improve FMD control activities along the ‘Progressive Control Pathway’ (PCP) for FMD, i.e. a framework propagated by OIE to promote, implement and monitor a country’s capacity for risk-based FMD control. Initial lessons learned from Laos and Myanmar are presented. Baseline surveys in 2016/17 demonstrated correlations between the serological status and farmer-observed FMD occurrence suggesting that interviews with farmers may be sufficient for monitoring trends of FMD incidence over time. Whereas passive spatial data about likely FMD determinants (outbreaks, livestock density, distance to roads/markets) were not related to actual FMD occurrence in Laos, a fair correlation existed in Myanmar. This implied for Laos that limiting vaccination to high-risk areas may currently not be an effective strategy. Therefore, surveillance, outbreak investigation and FMD awareness will become strategic priorities for Laos. In Myanmar, the risk definition based on passive data identified high risk areas. Thus, vaccination in high-risk villages appears to be the foremost intervention strategy for Myanmar.

The current endemic situations and socioeconomic impacts of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) for Laos and Myanmar are described, based on the analyses of household-level questionnaire data. After adjusting for cofounders, we found effects of FMD in reduction in household income, changes in animal trade patterns and herd dynamics.

Maximising the sensitivity of detection of bovine tuberculosis is important in a low prevalence situation where eradication is the goal. Failure to detect infection before revoking movement control may result in outward spread to uninfected herds, as well as recrudescence of prior infection in cleared herds. The gamma-interferon (BovigamTM) assay used in parallel with intradermal caudal fold tuberculin testing (CFT) has been shown to increase test sensitivity. This presentation discusses a retrospective observational study of 239 New Zealand cattle breeding and dairy herds with TB infection between 1 July 2011 and 1 September 2015. The study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of the addition of parallel Bovigam testing over and above the CFT in infected herds at their first and final whole herd test. The study findings show that many more cases of TB are detected by the combination of tests than by the CFT alone. Parallel testing of herds soon after confirmation of TB assists in the removal of early cases and may hasten the resolution of herd infection. At final whole herd testing before removal of movement restrictions, Bovigam testing used alongside the CFT allows detection of some residual cases which could otherwise be responsible for future breakdowns. Thus, parallel Bovigam testing is a useful tool in TB eradication schemes.

When a small dairy herd in the Waikato was found to have a high level of TB infection the decision was made to depopulate the herd and to gather as much information as possible to inform policy making in the final push for TB eradication in New Zealand.

The New Zealand dairy sector relies on robust biosecurity measures to control and mitigate a wide range of threats to the industry. Recent incursions highlight the need for strong assessment of potentially hazardous organisms before they arrive in New Zealand to aid preparedness and response activities. To optimise the prioritisation of organisms and ultimately manage the risk they pose to the sector in a transparent and credible way, the Dairy Biosecurity Risk Evaluation Framework (D-BRiEF) was developed. This comprehensive framework uses a standardized approach to address the full spectrum of biosecurity threats to the sector, including exotic and endemic animal disease organisms, pest plants, and insects. This presentation will describe the overarching framework, which applies to diverse organism groups, a detailed methodology for assessing both endemic and exotic animal disease risk organisms, and discuss some of the challenges encountered and overcome when assessing the risks posed by organisms.

The increased availability of fast and affordable pathogen sequence data has led to an influx of methods attempting to integrate molecular data into social network analysis. This presentation explores current methods being used, emphasising how these data sources best complement each other to help inform epidemiological investigations and support inferences on pathogen transmission and evolutionary dynamics.

Leptospirosis numbers in NZ are increasing and the demography of patients is changing, with more women affected, change in infecting strain and fewer with occupational-association. I will present findings that suggest rodent and environmental pathways driven by rainfall are increasingly important in disease transmission and a proposal to investigate this hypothesis.

There has been significant interest in developing systems to integrate “big” data from sources such as diagnostic laboratories, electronic medical records, and production databases to better understand the epidemiology of important animal diseases. This presentation discusses the issues and opportunities around making the information valuable to clients, veterinarians, and policy-makers.

Paratuberculosis, a chronic enteric infection caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP), is endemic in all farmed ruminant species in New Zealand. Factors influencing between-farm spread of MAP are poorly described. The use of genotyping in combination with network analysis of livestock movement events from one farm location to another has the potential to contribute to our understanding of between-farm transmission events.

Biosecurity practice plays a significant role in livestock disease spread. Despite accumulating literature on farmers’ behaviour, our understanding on causal mechanisms underlying their behaviour is surprisingly limited. This presentation highlights current methodological limitations and opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations in animal health discipline over epidemiology, welfare, and production scientists.

TeamMate is a three-year longitudinal study of farm dogs which includes a twice yearly physical examination. The aims are to 1) describe the life of the working dog and 2) identify factors that impact health, wellbeing, and longevity. This paper provides baseline data from 236 heading and 222 Hunatways.

Using data from the TeamMate study, we analyse which factors in a herding dog’s life may be associated with the dog being lost from the workforce through retirement or death. Variables include demographic and husbandry factors, information on illness and injury, and type of work carried out by the dog.

"I wanted to understand who of my clients were interested in alternative medicine, understand why they were interested, and learn how to talk to them about evidence-based medicine in a way that didn't alienate them."

This presentation describes the findings from a model built on freely-available meteorological data to predict the probability of Anthrax occurring in livestock in Victoria, Australia and the Design Thinking process used to develop a web application to effectively convey this risk to farmers.

Across New Zealand, equine primary care data is held in isolation in practice management software systems and currently not utilised to inform population health. Further, the type and depth of diagnostic data collected by different software systems varies, hinders the comparability of data between systems. The equine sector is supporting a new approach to surveillance utilising existing computerised veterinary practice management systems to capture primary care data gathered by veterinarian including standardised terms on presentation reason and diagnoses and forwarding it into a suite of data analysis and visualization tools currently under development. The aim is to provide the New Zealand equine community with a multi-purpose animal health information hub, with comprehensive, detailed, and timely information on the health of the New Zealand equine population.

On-farm antibiotic treatment records from 69 herds were assessed for completeness when compared to antibiotic sales. The concordance correlation coefficient between sales and records was 0.2 and 0.35 in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Improving recording systems to allow for error trapping and avoiding blank entries are important to increase compliance with recording.

Advances in statistical software and hardware capabilities in recent years have provided new opportunities for epidemiologists to visualise and explain large and complex data sets. We present a range of methods available in open-source software that we used to investigate risk factors for culling and mortality of dairy cattle.

Compared to dairy sector, many knowledge gaps exist on the epidemiologic characteristics of BVD infection in New Zealand beef herds. This study aims to identify possible farm management risk factors of BVD infection and to evaluate farmers’ attitude toward BVD and its control measures in New Zealand beef industry.

With increasing focus on good stewardship of antimicrobial usage, treating every cow at the end of lactation with antibiotic irrespective of infection status is inappropriate antimicrobial use. A high sensitivity and specificity of SCC for categorising cows as infected was demonstrated in a study of 2,500 cows in 36 herds.


Field Trip & Breakfast
Social Activities
Your Stay

The conference is organised and hosted by the New Zealand Veterinary Association.

You can contact us here.

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