Public Release: 

Wasting disease in cattle focus of workshop

National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS)

Johne's disease has been found in 68 percent of dairy herds and causes an estimated annual loss of $220 million to the US dairy industry. A contagious, chronic and usually fatal bacterial infection of the intestine in ruminants, the disease reduces a cow's milk production, causes weight loss in cows, and contributes to premature culling of clinically affected animals.

The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) is now accepting applications for its Investigative Workshop: Modeling Johne's Disease to be held July 6-8, 2011, at NIMBioS on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus. The goal of the workshop is to contribute to the control and ultimate eradication of the cause of Johne's (pronounced "Yo-nees") disease through the application of mathematical modeling. Scientists in mathematics, biostatistics, epidemiology, veterinary medicine, immunology, molecular biology and genetics will collaborate at the workshop to better understand the epidemiology and immunology of the disease.

Named after German veterinarian H. A. Johne who first described the disease in 1845, the disease is particularly common in diary cattle but also affects sheep, goats, deer, antelope and bison. Non-ruminants, such as birds, raccoons, fox and mice for example, may become infected, but rarely do they become sick because of the infection.

Since the early 1990s, mathematical modeling has been applied for better understanding of the disease's epidemiology and for estimating the cost-benefit of various control strategies. However, there has not previously been a meeting of scientists from multidisciplinary fields to help facilitate mathematical modeling studies in Johne's disease. Further, until now, there has been no mathematical modeling approach for studying the immunology of the disease.

The workshop is organized Shigetoshi Eda (Center for Wildlife Health, University of Tennessee, Knoxville); Ynte H. Schukken (Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, Cornell University); Ian A. Gardner (Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, University of California, Davis); John P. Bannantine (Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture).

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NIMBioS Investigative Workshops involve 30-40 participants, of which about half are invited. Individuals with a strong interest in the topic can also apply to attend. For more information about the workshop, go to http://www.nimbios.org/workshops/WS_malaria_modeling

The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) brings together researchers from around the world to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to investigate solutions to basic and applied problems in the life sciences. NIMBioS is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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