Research of the Quantitative Veterinary Epidemiology Group

The research of the group mainly focuses on the development of transmission models for infectious agents in livestock, in which knowledge from theoretical biology, veterinary science, animal science, mathematics and statistics are integrated. Such models are supported with data from experiments or from field studies.

These models are used for:

  • predicting the course of an epidemic (example: classical swine fever (CSF) epidemic outbreak in NL in 1997)
  • predicting the effects of interventions (example: CSF 1997)
  • development of disease control programs (example: eradication program for Aujeszky's disease in pigs in NL)
  • development of monitoring programs (example: assessing the progress of the eradication of IBR in cattle in NL)
  • giving indications about the quality of the diagnostic test(s) in order to fight a disease successfully.

Emphasis in research is also given to:

  • Fundamental aspects of diagnostic testing, as the quality of the diagnostics is essential for the success of a disease control program
  • Identification and quantification of risk factors in order to select suitable interventions

Currently, the following PhD projects are running:

  1. Mathematical modelling of heterogeneity in immune responses to influenza vaccination in poultry (Pan Xue)
  2. Spatial modelling of Bovine tuberculosis in multi-host disease dynamics in Republic of Ireland (You Chang)
  3. Modelling environmental transmission and spatial spread of common zoonotic bacteria in poultry (Anna Gamza).
  4. Quantifying the spatio-temporal heterogeneity in Mycobacterium bovis transmission in a multi-host system (badgers and cattle) in the Republic of Ireland, with and without vaccination of badgers (Ann Barber)
  5. Integration of quantitative genetic and quantitative epidemiological theory to enhance genetic improvement of animal health (Dries Hulst).
  6. Evaluating the use of an immune stimulant as a tool to improve the health of dairy cows under grazing conditions (Joaquin Barca)
  7. Molecular epidemiology of hepatitis E virus in the pork production chain and evaluation of risk factors in North-central Nigeria (Olajide Owolodun)
  8. Tracking and tackling goat farm-associated pneumonia through metagenomics (Wouter Lokhorst)
  9. Hepatitis E virus infection, molecular epidemiology and transmission in swine, human, wild boar and the environment. (Renate Hakze-van der Honing)
  10. Towards a status of foot-and-mouth disease free, without vaccination. Considering risks of reintroduction, emergency preparedness and economic factors to stop vaccination (Victoria Iriarte Barbosa)