Enhancing Models for Rapid Decision-Support in Emergency Animal Disease Outbreaks

Supporting biosecurity emergency outbreak preparedness, starting with Lumpy Skin Disease
farmer on AV hearding cattle in Australia, with a sheep dog assisting.
Who will benefit
Australian livestock, livestock industries and the communities that they support, biosecurity decision makers at all levels of government, the agricultural sector, Australian academics involved in translational research

The Challenge

Outbreaks of exotic animal diseases such as Lumpy Skin Disease can pose a significant risk to animal populations. Lumpy Skin Disease has spread in parts of Southeast Asia, and has a range of transmission pathways, including wind dispersal via pathogen-carrying insects from overseas. An outbreak in Australia would impact Australia’s beef and dairy industries, lead to negative animal health and welfare, and affect food security. It would also cause Australia to lose key export markets.

Epidemiological models can support evidence-based decision-making in animal disease outbreak response. This project will support the real-time integration of models to emergency response decision-making processes in the agriculture sector.

The Response

This project aims to improve Australia’s biosecurity response to rapidly emerging threats by creating a framework to test, evaluate and improve epidemiological modelling to support decision-making. 

We will develop rapid modelling tools to minimise the negative impacts and prepare and empower decision makers to use these tools in a biosecurity emergency outbreak, starting with Lumpy Skin Disease.

The focal disease for this project is Lumpy Skin Disease, but the animal industry faces a range of potential disease threats, which may be accommodated in the project. Other notable examples include foot and mouth disease, African swine fever, highly pathogenic avian influenza and bluetongue.

Who Will Benefit

  • Australian livestock, livestock industries and the communities that they support
  • Biosecurity decision makers at all levels of government, including the Offices of the Chief Veterinary Officers and departments responsible for biosecurity
  • Australian  academics involved in translational research
  • Modelling teams working internationally on animal health decision-support.

Project Partners 

The project is also working with Biosecurity Commons, an ARDC-supported project.

Target Outcomes

This project will:

  • create modelling workflows to answer biosecurity policy questions easily accessed via Biosecurity Commons
  • conduct a simulation exercise to test response modelling to support biosecurity decisions
  • create biosecurity emergency response modelling training materials.

As part of the collaboration in this project, the project intends to form a consortium to exist beyond the lifetime of the proposed project, which will continue to collaborate and work on related projects to support rapid response biosecurity modelling.