Modelling the potential spread of African swine fever

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Written by Biosecurity Animal Division

A new animal disease planning model will strengthen Australia’s preparedness to biosecurity threats. The Australian Animal Disease spread model (AADIS) was funded by the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) and is used to model the spread and control of a disease in a population for emergency planning.

This national-scale modelling capability is being adapted to look at the possible impacts of African Swine Fever (ASF) where an outbreak in Australia could cost millions from economic losses. ASF poses a threat to the Australian pig industry. Recently, ASF has spread throughout Asia and has now reached Papua New Guinea.

Sharon Roche is a veterinary officer at DAWE. She explains that AADIS is a useful tool to help understand how an exotic diseases, like ASF, may spread in Australia. ‘It can provide insights into how to control the disease’ Ms Roshe said. Once we have AADIS set up for ASF, we will be able to model potential ASF outbreaks in Australia.’

‘This will allow us to identify where ASF may be more likely to spread, or situations that allow spread to occur. Insights on the effectiveness of potential control programs can inform response policies.’ said Ms Roche. AADIS is an internationally recognised epidemiological model being adapted for the Australian context as part of the Biosecurity Innovation Program. This will help in our efforts to plan for possible outbreaks of animal diseases in Australia.

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