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Enhancement of Veterinary Laboratory Information for Use with Geographical Information Systems in Disease Surveillance and Reporting

Caver, Tony
Clemson University
Start date
End date
  1. To expand the data capturing capability of the veterinary laboratory information system (VetLIMS) to include geopositional satellite coordinates (GPS) for client premises.
  2. To utilize commercial software as well as data from other departments and agencies within and outside Clemson University to determine GPS coordinates for premises samples submitted to the Veterinary Diagnostic Center.
  3. To utilize GIS mapping capabilities and data currently captured within VetLIMS to enhance generation of laboratory information relative to sample submission, epidemiology of livestock and zoonotic diseases, and surveillance and monitoring diseases of economic and regulatory significance.
  4. Utilize information in emergency preparedness operations relative to foreign animal disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and acts of bioterrorism.
More information
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Animal disease reporting has no geopositional satellite coordinates to link disease outbreaks to location or premise. The purpose of this project is to enhance the scope of animal disease epidemiology, reporting, surveillance, and emergency response preparedness.

APPROACH: Contract VetLIMS programmer to include fields for GPS coordinates within the client information section of the software application, or determine alternative method for linking client database to GPS coordinates. Purchase commercially available software to extrapolate GPS coordinates for clients submitting specimens to the Veterinary Diagnostic Center (VDC). Generate geographic coordinates using currently available software under site license to Clemson University. Utilize field personnel on a limited basis to obtain GPS coordinates for priority premises if coordinates cannot be obtained through commercial software extrapolation. Develop tables containing laboratory client GPS information to include identification of animal species at the premises, and insure that these tables are compatible with ArcGIS 8.1 application software. Provide tables to other state agencies to enhance their surveillance and disease monitoring capabilities.

PROGRESS: 2002/03 TO 2006/06
As a result of this project Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping is now fully operational at Clemson Livestock Poultry Health (LPH). Some of the features of the current system have been planned from the inception of this project. Others did not even exist at the time, but have added significant value. Together they form a solid foundation for geographic analysis of animal health issues. GIS at LPH is integrated with major programs such as the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) and the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) as well as other State/Federal cooperative programs. With a significant percentage of livestock premises mapped, and with the ability to quickly add others as needed, the staff of LPH is able to perform geographic analysis of fast moving outbreaks in near-real-time. This capability has already been instrumental in such actions as re-routing movement of potentially diseased animals to avoid close contact with other susceptible farms. The ability to produce high quality maps in print or PDF document format has facilitated communication with industry partners regarding establishment of vaccination and biosecurity zones. This communication, in turn, results in feedback from producers that helps continually improve the quality of geographic data. Standardization of geographic data has allowed integration with tools such as Google Earth. This in-turn allows non-technical staff to quickly location animal facilities for activities ranging from routine administrative processes to emergency management. Storage of premises information in a centralized database allows the full LPH staff to work on critical issues simultaneously. Communication of this information with our Federal counterparts via NAIS and the APHIS Generic Database, allows further State/Federal coordination.

IMPACT: 2002/03 TO 2006/06
This project benefits South Carolina by enhancing the Livestock Poultry Health Division's ability to manage and control animal diseases. The project helps to analyze laboratory and surveillance data to detect and track the distribution of disease trends and patterns in the state's livestock and poultry. This project developed and linked GIS premise mapping with real lab data. It is currently being employed to manage biosecurity zones, vacccinal zones, and truck routes for current disease outbreaks. Programs were developed and are continuing to be developed to link animal identification data systems with premises data, laboratory data disease information, and geographic information systems (GIS). Interfaces were developed for quality control of the USDA South Carolina Generic Database. The local GIS data resource was built for the Livestock Poultry Health Division. On the national scene, the state Premises Identification Database, which consolidates various livestock/poultry data, was linked with the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) premises registration data. The state's laboratory data will link to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL). Clemson's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and NVSL will map their laboratory information system data to standard message structure for transmission to the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN). Terminology needs for the NAHLN are being developed in collaboration with NVSL and other veterinary diagnostic laboratories.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
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Project number
Accession number
Food Defense and Integrity
Bacterial Pathogens
Meat, Poultry, Game