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Objective—To develop an early-warning automated surveillance-data–analysis system for early outbreak detection and reporting and to assess its performance on an abortion outbreak in mares in Kentucky.

Sample Population—426 data sets of abortions in mares in Kentucky during December 2000 to July 2001.

Procedures—A custom software system was developed to automatically extract and analyze data from a Laboratory Information Management System database. The software system was tested on data on abortions in mares in Kentucky reported between December 1, 2000, and July 31, 2001. The prospective space-time permutations scan statistic, proposed by Kulldorff, was used to detect and identify abortion outbreak signals.

Results—Results indicated that use of the system would have detected the abortion outbreak approximately 1 week earlier than traditional surveillance systems. However, the geographic scale of analysis was critical for highest sensitivity in outbreak detection. Use of the lower geographic scale of analysis (ie, postal [zip code]) enhanced earlier detection of significant clusters, compared with use of the higher geographic scale (ie, county).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The automated surveillance-data–analysis system would be useful in early detection of endemic, emerging, and foreign animal disease outbreaks and might help in detection of a bioterrorist attack. Manual analyses of such a large number of data sets (ie, 426) with a computationally intensive algorithm would be impractical toward the goal of achieving near real-time surveillance. Use of this early-warning system would facilitate early interventions that should result in more positive health outcomes.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine sources of Salmonella organisms in a veterinary teaching hospital, compare bacterial culture with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for detection of Salmonella organisms in environmental samples, and evaluate the effects of various disinfectants on detection of Salmonella organisms on surface materials.

Design—Prospective study.

Sample Population—Fecal samples from 638 hospitalized horses and 783 environmental samples.

Procedure—Standard bacterial culture techniques were used; the PCR test amplified a segment of the Salmonella DNA. Five disinfectants were mixed with Salmonella suspensions, and bacterial culture was performed. Swab samples were collected from 7 surface materials after inoculation of the surfaces with Salmonella Typhimurium, with or without addition of a disinfectant, and submitted for bacterial culture and PCR testing.

ResultsSalmonella organisms were detected in fecal samples from 35 (5.5%) horses. For environmental samples, the proportion of positive bacterial culture results (1/783) was significantly less than the proportion of positive PCR test results (110/783), probably because of detection of nonviable DNA by the PCR test. Detection of Salmonella organisms varied with the surface material tested, the method of detection (bacterial culture vs PCR testing), and the presence and type of disinfectant.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of the present study suggested that Salmonella organisms can be isolated from feces of hospitalized horses and a variety of environmental surfaces in a large animal hospital. Although recovery of Salmonella organisms was affected by surface material and disinfectant, bleach was the most effective disinfectant on the largest number of surfaces tested. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:1145–1151)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


To determine safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy of an inactivated equine rotavirus vaccine.


Prospective randomized controlled trial.


316 pregnant Thoroughbred mares during the first year of the study and 311 during the second year.


During the first year, mares received 3 doses of vaccine or placebo, IM, at 8, 9, and 10 months of gestation. Serum neutralizing antibody titers were measured before vaccination and 1 and 35 days after foaling. Antibody titers were measured in foals 1, 7, 35, 60, 90, and 120 days after birth. During the second year, mares that had been vaccinated the previous year received a single booster dose of vaccine approximately 1 month prior to parturition. Mares that had received the placebo the previous year and mares new to the study received 3 doses of vaccine or placebo. Serum neutralizing antibody titers were measured in samples taken from mares approximately 1 day after foaling and from foals approximately 1 and 60 days after birth.


Adverse reactions were not observed. Antibody titers were significantly increased at the time of foaling and 35 days after foaling in vaccinated, compared with control, mares and for 90 days after birth in foals born to vaccinated, compared with foals born to control, mares. Incidence of rotaviral diarrhea was lower in foals born to vaccinated, compared with foals born to control, mares, but the difference was not significant.

Clinical Implications—

Results suggest that the equine rotavirus vaccine is safe and immunogenic and that reasonable efficacy under field conditions can be expected. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1997;211:193–198)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To identify factors associated with excessive proportions of early fetal losses associated with mare reproductive loss syndrome in central Kentucky during 2001.

Design—Case-control study.

Procedure—Questionnaires were used to collect information on farm-, pasture-, and individual animallevel factors purportedly associated with mare reproductive loss syndrome. Data were collected for 133 farms (97 with excessive proportions of early fetal losses and 36 control farms) representing 6,576 mares.

Results—Factors significantly associated with an increased risk of excessive early fetal losses were exposure to moderate to high concentrations of Eastern tent caterpillars, exposure to cherry trees, farm size ≥ 50 broodmares, being bred during February 2001, and frequent exposure to waterfowl. Feeding hay to mares outside was associated with a decreased risk of excessive proportions of early fetal losses. Pasture composition and management factors were not significantly different between affected and control pastures. Individual animal-level factors were investigated on 6 farms representing 340 mares, and age, parity, and pre- and postbreeding treatments were not significantly associated with risk of early fetal loss.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that limiting exposure to Eastern tent caterpillars and cherry trees and feeding hay to mares outside may help decrease the risk of excessive proportions of early fetal losses associated with mare reproductive loss syndrome. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;222: 613–619)

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association