Jessica King

Project: Investigating the role of wildlife and wild canids in transmission of Neospora caninum

Neosporosis is an important emerging protozoal reproductive disease of cattle worldwide that is considered to involve a canine-bovine life cycle. In eastern Australia, outbreaks occur on dairy and beef cattle properties, particularly in coastal regions and often associated with proximity to bushland.

Wild canids have been suggested as a source of infection. However data to support the hypothesis that wild canids are the source of infection is lacking and a possible role of foxes in bovine neosporosis needs investigation.

A research group has been formed which included the two investigators that initiated bovine neosporosis research in Australia, plus expertise in wild canid and fox ecology. I am improving the diagnostic tests for Neosporosis, managing the collection of samples of faeces, blood and tissues from foxes and wild dogs during routine culling; and conducting prevalence surveys, relating collection points to habitat and using GIS to determine the spatial epidemiology of Neosporosis and develop models to assist management of neosporosis.

Isolation and transmission studies on N caninum in wild dogs and foxes will form part of my project.

Background:

Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience (1st class Honours), University of Sydney (2005).

My scientific interests have always been in the agricultural field. I have always had a passion for animal production and wildlife work, and the interactions between these two fields and feel that pest management plays a significant role in both. I am interested in the many challenges that face the livestock industry, including progressing the health and welfare of animal production systems.

I enjoy many recreational activities in my free time including; swimming, skiing, golf, tennis, netball, cycling, hiking, fly fishing, and playing the flute. I am also a volunteer surf life saver.

jessica_king

Project details

CRC Program:
Terrestrial Products and Strategies

Locations:
NSW Department of Primary Industries, Orange
University of Sydney

Supervisors:
Professor John Ellis (UTS)
Dr Peter Fleming (NSW DPI)
Assoc Prof. Peter Windsor (USyd)
Dr David Jenkins (ANU)
Dr Jan Slapeta (USyd)