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Milperra, Australia

Ward M.P.,University of Sydney | Kelman M.,Virbac Australia
Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology

Infectious disease surveillance in companion animals has a long history. However, it has mostly taken the form of ad hoc surveys, or has focused on adverse reactions to pharmaceuticals. In 2006 a Blue Ribbon Panel was convened by the U.S. White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to discuss the potential utility of a national companion animal health surveillance system. Such a system could provide fundamental information about disease occurrence, transmission and risk factors; and could facilitate industry-supported pharmaco-epidemiological studies and post-market surveillance.Disease WatchDog, a prospective national disease surveillance project, was officially launched in January 2010 to capture data on diseases in dogs and cats throughout Australia. Participation is encouraged by providing registrants real-time disease maps and material for improved communication between veterinarians and clients.From January to mid-November 2010, an estimated 31% of veterinary clinics Australia-wide joined the project. Over 1300 disease cases - including Canine Parvovirus (CPV), Canine Distemper, Canine Hepatitis, Feline Calicivirus, Feline Herpesvirus, and Tick Paralysis - were reported. In New South Wales alone, 552 CPV cases in dogs were reported from 89 postcode locations. New South Wales data was scanned using the space-time permutation test. Up to 24 clusters (P<. 0.01) were identified, occurring in all months except March. The greatest number of clusters (n= 6) were identified in April. The most likely cluster was identified in western Sydney, where 36 cases of CPV were reported from a postcode in February. Although the project is still in its infancy, already new information on disease distribution has been produced. Disease information generated could facilitate targeted control and prevention programs. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Brady S.,University of Sydney | Norris J.M.,University of Sydney | Kelman M.,Virbac Australia | Ward M.P.,University of Sydney
Veterinary Journal

To identify clusters of canine parvoviral related disease occurring in Australia during 2010 and investigate the role of socio-economic factors contributing to these clusters, reported cases of canine parvovirus were extracted from an on-line disease surveillance system. Reported residential postcode was used to locate cases, and clusters were identified using a scan statistic. Cases included in clusters were compared to those not included in such clusters with respect to human socioeconomic factors (postcode area relative socioeconomic disadvantage, economic resources, education and occupation) and dog factors (neuter status, breed, age, gender, vaccination status). During 2010, there were 1187 cases of canine parvovirus reported. Nineteen significant (P<0.05) disease clusters were identified, most commonly located in New South Wales. Eleven (58%) clusters occurred between April and July, and the average cluster length was 5.7. days. All clusters occurred in postcodes with a significantly (P<0.05) greater level of relative socioeconomic disadvantage and a lower rank in education and occupation, and it was noted that clustered cases were less likely to have been neutered (P=0.004). No significant difference (P>0.05) was found between cases reported from cluster postcodes and those not within clusters for dog age, gender, breed or vaccination status (although the latter needs to be interpreted with caution, since vaccination was absent in most of the cases). Further research is required to investigate the apparent association between indicators of poor socioeconomic status and clusters of reported canine parvovirus diseases; however these initial findings may be useful for developing geographically- and temporally-targeted prevention and disease control programs. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Rika-Heke T.,University of Sydney | Kelman M.,Virbac Australia | Ward M.P.,University of Sydney
Veterinary Journal

The aim of this study was to describe the association between climate, weather and the occurrence of canine tick paralysis, feline tick paralysis and canine parvovirus in Australia. The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) and monthly average rainfall (mm) data were used as indices for climate and weather, respectively. Case data were extracted from a voluntary national companion animal disease surveillance resource. Climate and weather data were obtained from the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. During the 4-year study period (January 2010-December 2013), a total of 4742 canine parvovirus cases and 8417 tick paralysis cases were reported.No significant (P ≥ 0.05) correlations were found between the SOI and parvovirus, canine tick paralysis or feline tick paralysis. A significant (P < 0.05) positive cross-correlation was found between parvovirus occurrence and rainfall in the same month (0.28), and significant negative cross-correlations (-0.26 to -0.36) between parvovirus occurrence and rainfall 4-6 months previously. Significant (P < 0.05) negative cross-correlations (-0.34 to -0.39) were found between canine tick paralysis occurrence and rainfall 1-3 months previously, and significant positive cross-correlations (0.29-0.47) between canine tick paralysis occurrence and rainfall 7-10 months previously. Significant positive cross-correlations (0.37-0.68) were found between cases of feline tick paralysis and rainfall 6-10 months previously.These findings may offer a useful tool for the management and prevention of tick paralysis and canine parvovirus, by providing an evidence base supporting the recommendations of veterinarians to clients thus reducing the impact of these diseases. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Wong W.T.,University of Sydney | Kelman M.,Virbac Australia | Ward M.P.,University of Sydney
Preventive Veterinary Medicine

Reported cases of feline upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) - presumptively diagnosed as feline herpesvirus (FHV) or feline calicivirus (FCV) - throughout Australia (2010-2012) were obtained from Disease WatchDog, a companion animal disease surveillance system. This surveillance system is based on voluntary reporting of cases by veterinarians, using a web-based program. Animal factors, location and vaccination information are also reported. Cases reported were mapped and seasonal patterns were described. A total of 131 FHV cases and 120 FCV cases were reported. Excluding euthanasia, case fatality rates were 1.12% and 1.28%, respectively. The largest proportion of cases was reported in winter. Young cats (≤2 years), intact cats, unvaccinated cats and (for FHV) male cats appeared to be over-represented in the cases reported. The distributions of cases reported in this surveillance system provide information to aid the diagnosis of infectious feline URTD and to develop client educational programs. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source

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