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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Evaluation of Infrared Thermography As a Screening Method for Early Detection of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Infected Cattle

Location: Foreign Animal Disease Research

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this project is to identify a distinct profile for Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) infected cattle that differentiates them from other conditions or illnesses, utilizing infrared thermatography (IR). Together with collaborators from Vision Air Research, Foreign Animal Zoonotic Disease (FADZ) Center, the Texas Cattle Feeders Association and FLIR Infrared Cameras, ARS, PIADC will assist in the determination of the thermal pattern of FMDV infected cattle using infrared thermatography with each of the serotypes and subtypes of FMDV under laboratory conditions. The specific ARS, PIADC objective is to determine if cattle with abnormal temperature profiles produced by Foot-and-Mouth Disease infection can be detected by IRT.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Data will be collected in laboratory infections at ARS, PIADC to determine association between thermal IR signatures and disease progression in cattle infected with various FMDV serotypes and in FMDV-vaccinated vs. naïve animals. A controlled environment with both "known" non-infected and infected cows securing identification of the thermal infrared signature for FMD. Images will be collected at ARS, PIADC to determine association between thermal IR and pattern and disease progression with carious FMD serotypes in both vaccinated and naive cows and cattle directly inoculated or infected with FMDV by contact exposure during vaccine trials and pathogenesis studies.


3.Progress Report:

Early identification of animals infected with Foot-and-Mouth Disease virus (FMDV) is vital if disease outbreaks are to be rapidly diagnosed and controlled. Previous published work by ARS, PIADC showed that the use of Infra-Red Thermography (IRT) images of the feet allowed detection of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) experimentally infected cattle under controlled laboratory conditions 24-48 hours prior to the onset of clinical signs. During the reporting period these studies were expanded, determining baseline temperature readings in feet, mouth, eyes and ears of cattle prior to and after infection with FMDV. We collected data under different conditions including wet floors, wet skin, and presence/absence of manure using the Flir Inc. T-300 IRT camera that has the capability of collecting temperatures from groups of animals and through a built-in algorithm, which calculates a running temperature average of specific anatomical regions such as the eye or forehead. We determined that rectal temperatures are strongly correlated to the infrared results provided by the camera for both the eye and body images. Leg temperatures show greater variability in imaging, particularly in the presence of water. Despite the variation observed, group images, the infrared pattern of infected animals and non-infected cattle was different and easily distinguishable by the operator. However, these differences were not easy to quantitate and the development of image analysis algorithms needs to be developed for automatic detection of infected animals.

No publications were produced or technologies transferred in FY 2013.


Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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