May 9, 2023


Less chances of LSD entering Australia, according to epidemiology company




The risk of a serious livestock disease making its way to Australia is lower than authorities first expected.


No updated modelling on the risk of a foot and mouth disease (FMD) incursion has been released Lumpy skin disease (LSD) was detected in Indonesia in early 2022, putting Australia's cattle industry on high alert.


Still, it was estimated an outbreak of the disease would cost Australia $7.4 billion in its first year, from lost trading opportunities.


Despite the disease's spread throughout Indonesia, including on the popular tourist island of Bali, new modelling from epidemiology company Ausvet shows a reduced likelihood of an LSD incursion in Australia.


"An incursion appears to be much less likely than we previously thought," Ausvet director, Dr. Brendan Cowled, told an industry webinar.


In its research, Dr. Cowled said Ausvet found it was unlikely for lumpy skin disease to spread to Australia via a single insect.


"Most of the research around the world shows that you need 30 to 50 insects to land on one single animal and bite that animal about the same time to start infection going," Dr. Cowled said.


Modelling showed the risk of an LSD outbreak in Australia ranged between one in every five years, to one in every 14,652 years, depending on the amount of insects required for successful transmission.


"It shows it's not a very high likelihood of an outbreak if it takes quite a few insects to start an outbreak," Dr. Cowled said. "These insects have got to blow across in one little mob, all the way from Indonesia, they've got to land on one animal to start an infection."


Dr. Cowled said the team expected the "truth" would be "an outbreak every few hundred years or every few thousand years".


However, he noted the confidence intervals of the modelling was not high, with many questions left to be answered by science.


"There's quite a bit of uncertainty in our estimates," he said. "That's because each one of those steps in that risk assessment path has some uncertainty where further science is required to refine this estimate."

- ABC News

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