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Pilot study on the role of environmental factors on footrot outbreaks

Sandy Nguyen, Lachlan Ingram and Om Dhungyel, Sydney School of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney

Posted Flock & Herd September 2021


Pilot study to examine the role of environmental factors on the outbreaks of ovine footrot has been initiated as a retrospective study on the outbreaks in the Monaro region, south east of NSW, Australia. The outbreaks were significant and unusual as neighbouring properties under the same conditions presented as unaffected. Furthermore, there is currently a lack of knowledge to better understand the epidemiology of the disease and interactions with the environmental factors. Graham and Egerton study (1968) recognised moisture and temperature as key factors in influencing the prevalence of increased footrot. Therefore, this study aims to explore and consider a wider spectrum of climatic, environmental and landscape factors that may also contribute to the disease outbreaks and prevalence. The spatial datasets used to explore these relationships include soil moisture, precipitation, rainfall, air temperatures, soil temperature, soil type, aspect, vegetation type, radiation, topographic wetness and other environmental attributes such as plant greenness and foliage cover. This would be achieved by linking the outbreak location to the spatial data as well as neighbouring properties where it wasn't reported using ArcGIS software (ver. 10.7, ESRI systems) and undertake statistical analysis in R using a linear mixed model to determine the statistical relationship. It is expected that this pilot study may provide an essential tool that would predict outbreak locations in relation to changing environmental conditions to allow farmers to better prepare, adjust and make critical decisions to avoid or manage disease outbreaks accordingly.


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