Welcome to my ePortfolio!
In July 2014, I graduated as a veterinarian (MSc in Veterinary Medicine - Research) from the University of Ghent. I joined the Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre in Brussels in February 2015, where I worked on a project that investigated the feasibility and possibilities of a veterinary syndromic surveillance system in Belgium.
In January 2016, I relocated to Coventry and started my PhD project at the University of Warwick under the supervision of Prof Laura Green. I am currently in the final year of my project.
I am working on a project funded by the University and AHDB Beef & Lamb to investigate the feasibility of developing an efficient, validated and sustainable on-farm syndromic surveillance system for endemic diseases in beef cattle and sheep.
Because endemic diseases cause substantial losses (economic as well as animal production losses) to farmers every year, these diseases are important to monitor. In doing so, farmers will be able to compare their own on-farm results with results from previous years and make a comparison with regional or national benchmarks. The results of the system will provide AHDB with more information on the general health status of the herds and flocks in England.
The first year of my project was predominantly aimed at searching the available scientific literature on
(i) previous and current veterinary syndromic surveillance initiatives with emphasis on cattle and small ruminants;
(ii) monitoring and surveillance of endemic animal diseases;
(ii) surveillance and data collection for human health purposes in low resource environments.
Apart from the literature reviews, I also organised focus group discussions with sheep and beef cattle farmers in the Midlands, North and South of England to identify their needs and syndromes/diseases of importance to farmers.
In May 2018, 2000 sheep and cattle farmers were invited to participate in our study where disease data was collected for the year 2017 by means of an online questionnaire. Based on the results from the focus group discussions, five sheep and five cattle diseases were selected for inclusion in our study. Participants were asked if they had seen any of the selected diseases such as Johne's disease, sheep scab or bovine tuberculosis in their animals. The same process was followed in January 2019 when farmers were asked to provide disease data, this time for the year 2018. Disease data is currently being analysed.