Microbiologist receives award to investigate respiratory disease in pigs

respiratory disease in pigs

Microbiologist Anne Watt has received the Australian Pork Ltd Award at the 2019 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

The awards were presented at the ABARES Outlook 2019 conference dinner earlier this month. 

Watt was part of a team that discovered a completely new bacteria causing respiratory disease in Australian pigs during her PhD research at the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences’ Asia Pacific Centre for Animal Health.

But at the end of her studies, a lot of questions remained. Is the novel Glaesserella species she found common or uncommon? What’s the best treatment? And what other diseases might be out there?

Watt, now a research fellow at the University of Melbourne and scheduled to graduate with a PhD in April 2019, is hoping to answer some of these questions to help Australian pig producers manage respiratory disease in their herd.

Her Science and Innovation Award project will examine the presence of the new Glaesserellaspecies, as well as A. pleuropneumoniae, G. parasuis and A. indolicus, in the lungs of pigs.

If the diseases are common, Watt also wants to help producers weigh up treatment options such as antibiotics, vaccines or better management of animals on the farm.

“I was really excited to be able to design a project that’s going to attempt to answer some of these questions,” Watt said.

“I’m lucky that it was a project that I really enjoyed, and I now have the opportunity to carry that on.”

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