CHeRI - Projects

Current Projects:

Best Management Practices to Curb Hemorrhagic Disease - This complex of viruses is devastating to captive and wild cervids as well as cattle, sheep and goats throughout the world. Deer farms in Florida were hit especially hard in 2014, with estimated loss exceeding $30M. This project has three main goals: 1) Provide an integrated pest management plan aimed at reducing disease transmission, 2) Provide state-of-the-art disease diagnostics to Florida stakeholders, 3) Develop a best management plan for cervid production and health.

Predicting risk of disease for cervids in Florida - Diseases, such as Hemorrhagic Disease, are carried by insects and these diseases can alternate between years of severe outbreaks and years with few mortalities. The abundance of insects involved in disease transmission is frequently driven by climatic conditions. Scientists around the world are using this correlation between weather and insect abundance to predict years of disease outbreaks of malaria, dengue fever, and other insect-borne diseases. Our team is conducting a comprehensive study of Culicoides spp. abundance, diversity and distribution along with data on hemorrhagic disease outbreaks to predict and forecast the risk of outbreaks in Florida. This predictive risk model will alert deer ranchers in Florida when environmental conditions are right for outbreaks so they can make management decisions based on this knowledge.

Pathogens and parasites shared by livestock and cervids - Domestic livestock and deer share multiple diseases and parasites. This study investigates the potential for transmission of disease and ticks among cattle and free-ranging deer in south central Florida.

Innovative vaccine development for Parelaphostrongylus spp. infection - This parasitic worm can cause large die offs in native and captive cervids. Our team is actively looking for ways in which to decrease these die offs by providing immune protection to susceptible species.