Infection dynamics and disease burden of East African cattle (IDEAL)

Published on 30 March 2010

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Timeline

Start Date: 1 January 2007 | End Date: 1 January 2012

Overview

This will be a unique study of the impact of infectious diseases on East African cattle. Normally, only one infectious disease is studied at a time; here, we will look at over 80 different infections, allowing us to consider their effects as a whole. The study involves intensive monitoring of a cohort of 500 calves for the first year of life. Any signs of infection will be noted and provisional diagnoses made. Samples of blood and other tissues will be taken, and used to apply state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques for identifying infections. Samples will also be stored in a ‘Biobank’, for future research. The study will generate data on thousands of cases of infection, records of the clinical signs shown by the animals and of any impact on their health and growth, together with information on genetics, immunity and nutritional status. These data will be analysed statistically to rank different infections in order of their importance and to identify factors which predispose some cattle to a high burden of infectious diseases. The data will also be used to develop simple, practical tools to help diagnose infections in the field where most animal health workers do not have access to sophisticated laboratory facilities.

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