Emergency Animal Diseases 2

Subject VETS50008 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 5 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2012.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Approximately 10-14 hours per week over an 8-week period
Total Time Commitment:

Approximately 112 hours per semester


The following subjects are prerequisites:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2012


Recommended Background Knowledge:

Information learned in the prior modules of this course

Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability will impact on their academic performance are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Subject Coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Helen Smithwick
Academic programs & Student Centre Manager
Faculty of Veterinary Science
University of Melbourne
Victoria 3010
+61 (0)3 8344 8906

Subject Overview:

This subject focuses on vector-borne and wildlife reservoir emergency diseases.

Many emergency animal diseases in the recent past have a complex epidemiology, either involving insect vectors and/or or wildlife reservoirs. Many of these outbreaks were initially new or emerging, and in some cases were zoonotic. Accordingly, they posed challenges to control and eradication not encountered with simpler vesicular disease epidemics. Examples include West Nile Fever (WNF), Bluetongue virus (BTV), African Horse Sickness (AHS), and infection with the henipaviruses, Hendra and Nipah.

This module will use online lecture notes and study materials to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the course of several historical vector-borne and wildlife epidemics of farm animals, including the practical control and eradication challenges presented by them. Accordingly, it will deepen the understanding gained from Modules 1 and 4, and expand on the understanding from Module 5.


On completion of this subject, students will have gained:
• a comprehensive understanding of epidemiology and diagnosis of 5 important emergency diseases: West Nile Fever (WNF), Bluetongue virus (BTV), African Horse Sickness (AHS), Hendra virus and Nipah virus;
• an in-depth familiarity of the literature describing the events of some of the epidemics of these diseases, inter alia BTV8 in northern Europe (2006- - present), WNV in North America (2003-07), AHS in Spain and Portugal (1987-90), Hendra virus outbreaks in Queensland (1994 – present) and Nipah virus in Malaysia (1999); and
• a capability to make a critical evaluation of the management of complex animal disease emergencies, including the challenges of control without adequate scientific knowledge and/or where environmental vectors or reservoirs make total eradication impossible.


Students will be assessed for participation in weekly forum discussions, group assignment in week 5 and final written exam in week 9 and 10. You will be required to identify a university near you where you can be supervised while sitting the exam.

The assessment components of this subject are:

  • Participation in online forum discussions (15%)
  • Group assignment of 4000 words (25%)
  • Written 2-hour final exam (60%)
Prescribed Texts:

Students will use a reading list of scientific articles from the current literature, which will be provided on-line.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject, students should have developed their:
• ability to critically interpret the scientific literature describing historical animal disease emergencies; and
• ability to read and write reports critically evaluating the management of a major animal disease epidemics.


Reliable internet access with at least a medium speed connection and a personal computer are essential for undertaking this online program. The content is accessed through your web browser. Microsoft Office™ and Adobe Acrobat Reader or equivalent software packages are necessary for assessment tasks, assignments and some class exercises.

Related Course(s): Master of Veterinary Public Health (Emergency Animal Diseases)

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