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Epidemiological and risk-based approaches to accelerating achievement of foot and mouth disease free-zone in the Malaysia-Thailand-Myanmar peninsula

Smith, Polly (2012) Epidemiological and risk-based approaches to accelerating achievement of foot and mouth disease free-zone in the Malaysia-Thailand-Myanmar peninsula. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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The main purpose of this research was to identify factors which threaten the success of the Malaysia Thailand Myanmar (MTM) Campaign and to consider ways in which Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) control may be improved such that Free Zone status can be more rapidly achieved.

This is the first time that information has been compiled to formulate a critical analysis of the whole MTM Zone, to: identify risks to the zone, explore ways to minimise those risks and thus to consider the feasibility of eradicating FMD from the zone. The impact of this research will be felt within the MTM Zone where a reduction in FMD outbreaks would reduce the financial burden on livestock keepers and, potentially, improve access to more valuable export markets. Targeting of disease in key livestock source areas would also likely impact positively on FMD control across South-East Asia and beyond to those countries which import South-East Asian livestock.

This research study involved: gathering and analysis of existing data; and collection of raw field data and development of risk models. Snowball sampling was the method of choice in identifying livestock movement pathways destined for the MTM Zone. This involved identification of initial respondents known to be involved in livestock trade to the MTM Zone, and then asking those initial respondents about where and with whom they trade livestock. This information was then used to identify further respondents and thus identify stakeholder networks and livestock trading routes leading to the MTM Zone. Risk models were developed with the purpose of quantifying the risk of FMD entering the MTM Zone and to identify the major contributors to this risk.

The key conclusions of this research were: that the MTM Zone is highly vulnerable to incursions of FMD through live animal movement; that efforts should be made to improve data collection in the field and to improve reporting of these data to central bodies; that FMD should be addressed in key strategic areas along the livestock movement pathway; and that any control strategies should be formulated in light of the specific challenges faced by the MTM member countries. The overarching conclusion of this research is that the MTM Zone is not a suitable place to initiate regional control of FMD in South-East Asia given that the Zone is largely a destination point for livestock and therefore, the success of the MTM Campaign largely depends upon the success of controlling FMD in key livestock source areas such as Central Myanmar.

Publication Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Supervisor: Robertson, Ian
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