Epidemiological investigations into the 2007 equine influenza outbreak in Australia.
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The project will investigate the characteristics of the 2007 equine influenza (EI) outbreak in Australia in order to improve our understanding of the factors contributing to the spread of the outbreak and contribute to preparedness for future incursions of animal diseases in Australia.
The project aims to answer many crucial questions about the 2007 EI outbreak such as: How did EIV spread among the Australian horse population and across state boundaries? What factors facilitated its spread and how its spread could have been better controlled? Answering these questions will provide critical insights into the spread of contagious viral diseases in natïve animal populations under Australian conditions. The PhD candidate will employ several techniques to resolve these issues. The project will start with an in-depth analysis of the features of the epidemic, such as its temporal and spatial distribution, and clustering of cases in time and space, followed by critical evaluation of the strategies employed to control the current epidemic and their effectiveness. A case control study will then be conducted to evaluate the efficacy of biosecurity measures in preventing the spread of EI infection during the outbreak. This study will involve collection and analysis of data from a sample of horse owners to identify factors statistically associated with the likelihood of being an infected property. The PhD candidate will also use mathematical modelling approaches, under supervision of world renowned infectious disease modellers, to compare the intensity of transmission of EI between several geographic regions, under different management conditions (for example, extensively managed populations versus high density populations), and operation types (for example, studs versus racing operations).In summary, the project will utilise the experiences of the 2007 EI outbreak in order to improve our capacity to prevent future outbreaks of infectious disease and ameliorate the impact of such disease outbreaks in the event that they do occur.
A PhD scholarship valued at $25,000 per annum (tax exempt) is available to an Australian citizen or permanent resident enrolled full-time for 3 years to participate in this project. The applicant must be a veterinary, agriculture or science graduate with interest in infectious diseases of animals, farm animal health, epidemiology or biostatistics. The project involves extensive travel particularly during the initial phases of the study and substantial statistical analysis of data; therefore, mathematical inclination of the applicant is desirable, although prior experience in data analysis is not essential. The successful applicant will be based at Camden and will work with academic experts in the Faculty of Veterinary Science and with scientists in NSW and QLD Departments of Primary Industries. The project is scheduled to commence on 1st of November, therefore the applicant must be ready to start by January 2009.
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The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 638
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