Submitted by dasko2 on Fri, 03/20/2020 - 10:41


Infectious Disease in Livestock Systems

Contact Information

Instructor: Dr. James Lowe

Course Description

This is a graduate level course that covers the components and determinants of a healthy livestock system. The course will allow students to understand the interaction between animals (hosts), microorganisms (infectious disease) and the environment. This course emphasizes how to optimize interventions in livestock production systems to minimize the economic impact of infectious disease. The instructors assume that enrolled students have a foundational knowledge of pathogens and livestock system design and operations.

Course Goals

Students will possess the knowledge required to improve the health of livestock systems and apply economically effective interventions to control infectious disease.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • recognize factors that influence infectious disease transmission within and between livestock production systems
  • identify strategies to minimize the risk of pathogen transmission.

Module Topics

  • Module 1
    • The SIR (susceptible, infected, and resistant) framework
    • Using the SIR framework to understand infectious disease
    • Factors that determine if animals are susceptible, infected, or resistant within herds
    • Population resistance and susceptibility
    • Factors that influence the contact between infected and susceptible animals within herds
    • Implications of thermoneutrality on pathogen transmission
    • Measuring pathogen and disease transmission within herds
    • The epidemic curve
  • Module 2
    • Defining a systems-based approach to controlling disease spread
    • Routes of transmission between individuals within a herd and between herds
    • Routes and factors that influence indirect transmission of pathogens within and between herds
    • Designing rational biosecurity systems to control pathogen movement
    • Decontamination of fomites to control pathogen transmission
    • Impact of animal movement and mixing on pathogen transmission
  • Module 3
    • Root cause analysis
    • How to determine the root cause
    • Applying the theory of constraints to livestock production systems
    • Assessing the cost of disease in growing animals
    • Assessing the cost of disease in breeding herds
    • Assessment tools to determine the probability of disease introduction
    • Why a systems-based approach is important
  • Module 4
    • Defining the status of the herd in a systematic way
    • Applying an enhanced case definition to understanding herd status
    • Diagnostic tests to assess herd status
    • Strategies and interpretation of diagnostic tests
    • The philosophy of sampling approaches
    • Understanding prevalence and confidence to determine sample size
    • Practical considerations when using sampling to detect pathogens
    • Using sampling to detect homogeneous and heterogeneous pathogen distributions
  • Module 5
    • Assessing constraints
    • Assessing human constraints in production systems
    • Assessing physical constraints of a production location
    • Assessing physical constraints of production systems
    • System operational constraints on animal health
  • Module 6
    • Designing systems to limit pathogen movement within farms
    • Designing systems to limit pathogen movement between farms
    • Designing immunoprophylaxis schemes
    • Management of colostrum
    • Application of metaphylaxis
  • Module 7
    • The importance of monitoring disease management programs
    • In-process monitoring of health programs
    • Outcome monitoring of health improvement programs
    • Making decisions in the face of ambiguity

Course Structure Overview

All course materials will be accessed via the internet. Course modules will be a combination ofvideo lectures, imaging anatomy cases and quizzes. Learners will work as an individual at theirown pace to explore the concepts in this course. If you need help with navigating the coursematerials, please click on the Help Center page.

Learning Activities

Video Lectures

  • Instructors will present the core learning materials via high quality videos.

Quiz (Required for Certificate)

  • Learners will take a Module Quiz for each module. The quiz is located at the end of eachmodule. The quizzes are open-book and open-note. Please note that every learner will randomly get 10 questions. Your grade should be available right aftersubmission. Unlimited attempts areallowed. To earn a certificate, you need to obtain a score of 80% or more.


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