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More about
the EuFMD Webinars

  • webinar photo
    webinar photo

    The webinars are part the resources offered by EuFMD through their online training platform "EuFMD e-Learning". The platform, which is produced in partnership with the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, currently has close to 1500 registered users and hosts a number of training course and resources, including the FMD Emergency Preparation course, online induction and refresher training for EuFMD’s face to face workshops, and an archive of video recordings of all of the talks given at EuFMD’s recent conference, the Open Session 2014.


EuFMD Webinars: The way forward

Modelling Network Webinar series

The EuFMD has created, through the Modeling Network, a forum for modelers to discuss relevant issues and reach out to policy makers and others who are interested in learning more about modeling. One of the Network activities is a webinar series, in which modeling groups may present their work and discuss it with their colleagues. Participants are from across Europe and beyond, including North America and Australasia. The webinars are organized by the EuFMD, and are all recorded and may be accessed on the password protected Model Network webpage(email [email protected] to have access). The first webinar was held on the 12th January 2015 and the recording of “Making modeling useful for contingency planners’” is available upon request. The second webinar was presented on the 24th February 2015. Melissa Mclaws (EuFMD consultant) and Laura Pomeroy (Researcher at the Ohio State University) presented “Data-driven models of FMD dynamics: reviewing outbreak models and highlighting new research in an endemic setting”.


The presentation by Laura Pomeroy was an overview of published data-driven dynamic models of foot-and-mouth disease virus transmission and models using serology data from Cameroon, where multiple serotypes of FMD are endemic.


An outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in a country normally free of the disease can have devastating economic, social and animal welfare consequences. Therefore, Veterinary services in FMD-free countries devote resources to contingency planning to prepare themselves and define the best strategy to control the disease a priori. This is no easy task: outbreaks of FMD vary in size and severity and many countries have not experienced FMD in decades, so it is difficult to know exactly what to prepare for.


FMD spreads from one farm to the next primarily through animal movements but it may also be carried by vehicles or persons. Some virus strains may spread by the wind under certain climactic conditions. The main control measures used in free countries are stamping out (culling of infected animals and sometimes animals at high risk of becoming infected) and movement restrictions. Vaccination can also be used to control the disease, however this results in a longer waiting period before disease freedom is officially recognized and the country can resume exports of live animals and their products.


Mathematical models are a tool increasingly used to understand FMD spread and support decision making about FMD control. These computer models allow veterinarians and scientists to simulate disease outbreaks, and alternative methods to control these simulated outbreaks. They can then use the model outputs to explain the possible consequences of different control strategies to policy makers, in terms of the size of the outbreaks and the resources and cost required to control it. Models are a way of representing reality that is at once comprehensive and inexpensive.


As the power of computers has increased exponentially in the last decade, the development of the field of mathematical models of disease has also progressed very quickly. However, many important areas in this field are still in need of further development. These include ways to improve communication between modelers, veterinarians and policy makers so that the implications of the modeling results are well understood by all, including the limitations and uncertainty inherent in simulation modeling. Policy makers in many countries are not yet aware of the potential use of models as they have not yet been developed for their country. The accuracy of models will be directly related to the quality of the data used to create the models, and these data are not yet readily available in many countries.


The third webinar “Modelling spread of highly infectious diseases in the EU before the detection – the example of African swine fever” has been scheduled for 15th April. For more information about the modeling network and the webinar series please contact [email protected]


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