“fomite”
noun
fo·​mite | \ ˈfō-ˌmīt  \
plural fomites\ ˈfō-​ˌmīts  ; ˈfä-​mə-​ˌtēz  , ˈfō-​  \
Definition: an object (such as a dish, doorknob, or article of clothing) that may be contaminated with infectious agents (such as bacteria or viruses) and serve in their transmission (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

The impact of disease transmission on the viability of Canada’s livestock and poultry sectors cannot be overstated. This segment of our nation’s agriculture industry is a major economic contributor, and any interruption of the supply chain results in significant costs, whether to consumers through higher food prices, or to taxpayers in the form of government compensation for catastrophic losses.

Transport systems link livestock and poultry farms production sites and processing plants. This network spreads pathogens, first by animal-to-animal contact, followed by people and vehicles (a.k.a. “fomites”—now you know why we included a definition). Appropriate contact tracing is an important but poorly used industry tool. A high-tech, real-time track-and-trace process could vastly improve outbreak response times, use analytics to predict disease spread, and significantly reduce associated costs. Existing monitoring systems are neither current nor centralised. Furthermore, efforts to organise and validate on-farm information are largely wasted as a result of inadequate compliance with bio-security standards.

This project seeks to identify a cost-effective sector-wide technological solution capable of generating real-time track-and-trace data to mitigate the effects of disease outbreaks in the livestock and poultry industries. Ideally, the platform will be implemented regionally, then provincially, and eventually across Canada. The research team will compare features and capabilities of existing technologies, evaluating how each produces, analyses, and displays data to be accessed and used in an emergent situation by regulators and disease management professionals. Criteria will include the ability to integrate artificial intelligence to combine and convert models and real-time data into disease spread predictions.

CAAIN Contribution
$50,757

Total Project Value
$197,344

Project Contact
Rob Hannam
Chief Executive Officer
Farm Health Guardian
rhannam@farmhealthguardian.com