Royal Veterinary College analyses bird flu risks

Royal Veterinary College analyses bird flu risks

Researchers are exploring the dangers of infectious diseases using risk analysis software

The UK's largest veterinary school is using software to help develop ways to prevent and control infectious diseases such as avian flu.

Investigators at the Royal Veterinary College's (RVC's) epidemiology division identify risks such as the spread of a disease and how likely it is to occur. The @RISK software from Palisade runs thousands of simulations and examines the outcomes to work out ways to prevent the spread of the infection.

If the system indicates that a specific case of avian flu has a low chance of spreading, seclusion of birds may be suggested as a statistically sufficient alternative to more drastic measures such as mass slaughter.

RVC needed the best technology to support the crucial nature of its work, said Professor Dirk Pfeiffer, leader of the RVC's epidemiology division.

“We deal with issues that have significant health risks to animals and humans, as well as economic impact, which is why we need supporting software that is powerful, sophisticated, and flexible," he said.