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IISc scientists start project to analyse disease burden in livestock

The project aims at analysing the data on three major diseases — the foot and mouth disease, the lumpy foot disease and avian influenza.
Last Updated : 06 July 2024, 22:29 IST

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Bengaluru: The AI & Robotics Technology Park (ARTPARK) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), with support from the Ministry of Science and Technology, has embarked on an environmental surveillance project that focuses on analysing the disease burden in the livestock sector. 

The project aims at analysing the data on three major diseases — the foot and mouth disease, the lumpy foot disease and avian influenza. 

“These are the most prevalent diseases among livestock, and after the outbreak of Covid, zoonotic diseases are also a concern. Hence, these three diseases were chosen,” said Dr Bhaskar Rajkumar, programme director at ARTPARK. 

Researchers plan to feed the data collected from sewage lines, cow dung and other such means into a specially designed Artificial Intelligence (AI) model. That apart, the government has also documented the earlier outbreaks, breeds and geography affected in detail and this will be fed into the system to predict future outbreaks. 

Through data collection and analysis, the project aims to chalk out strategies for vaccination, predict disease outbreaks and prepare the stakeholders for any outbreak. 

“At present, the only prevention strategy for the foot and mouth disease is vaccinating the cattle every six months. This comes with its own challenges such as availability of vaccination, resources and monitoring. With the project, we aim to determine which areas could be vulnerable, the season during which the disease might increase and this can help government and the farmers prioritise vaccination strategies,” Dr Rajkumar explained. 

Through the project, researchers plan to identify and predict outbreaks, behaviour of the disease during particular seasons, the breeds affected, and such other details which will help the authorities prepare better to manage the situation. 

Further, an analysis of zoonotic diseases such as avian influenza to predict the means of spread of the disease from birds to humans could help prevent and prepare for any outbreak such as Covid. 

The project is still in the initial phases and is being implemented in Karnataka. In the next few months, the researchers plan to collaborate with institutions in other states. 

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Published 06 July 2024, 22:29 IST

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