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Modelling the spread of African Swine Fever in Malawi

College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

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Dr A Jennings , Dr M Bronsvoort , Dr T Porphyre No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The student working on this project will develop models to better understand and describe the epidemiology of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the Malawian Pig Industry.

ASF is a highly contagious and often fatal disease of both domestic pigs and wild swine. Malawi experiences regular outbreaks of ASF and this is cited as a major constraint to the pig industry and a major threat to the livelihoods of pig keepers in the country. Improving knowledge on ASF and on the constraints to mitigation of identified risks will help to support the local pig industry to make evidence-based decisions and allow it to increase its resilience, ensuring food security and the growth of Malawi’s economy.

Malawi veterinary services have promoted biosecurity measures on smallholdings to prevent ASF spread, but outbreaks are still common.

Little is known about the epidemiology of ASF in Malawi, and little work has been done to understand the uptake of animal health prevention measures by pig keepers both during outbreaks and the effects that these behaviours may have on local and regional spread. This project aims to fill these knowledge gaps. The student will study and describe movement networks, and they will explore how on-farm economic trade-offs and decision making may affect the spread of infection.

This PhD project will build on existing partnerships between RI/UoE, LUANAR School of Veterinary Science, the Malawian Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development, and AgroSup Lyon. This project has the potential to directly influence policy in Malawi and inform decisions of industry stakeholders to support sustainable economic growth, and to involve the student in the research policy interface and knowledge exchange.

Funding Notes

3.5 year PhD

This opportunity is open to UK and international students and provides funding to cover stipend, tuition fees and consumable/travel costs. Applications including a statement of interest and full CV with names and addresses (including email addresses) of two academic referees, should be emailed to [Email Address Removed].

When applying for the studentship please state clearly the project title/s and the supervisor/s in your covering letter.

Other projects available:
We would encourage applicants to list up to three projects of interest (ranked 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice) from those listed with a closing date of 10th January 2021 at


S. Costard, F.J. Zagmutt, T. Porphyre, D.U. Pfeiffer (2015).
Small-scale pig farmers” behaviour, silent release of African swine fever virus and consequences for disease spread. Scientific reports 5:17074.
C. Guinat, T. Porphyre, A. Gogin, L. Dixon, D.U.Pfeiffer, S. Gubbins (2018)
Inferring the within-herd transmission parameters for African swine fever virus
using mortality data from outbreaks in the Russian Federation. Transboundary
and Emerging Diseases 65(2): e264-e271
P. Motta, T. Porphyre, I. Handel, S.H. Hamman, V. Ngu Ngwa, V. Tanya, K. Morgan, R. Christley, B.M.deC. Bronsvoort (2017)
Implications of the cattle trade network in Cameroon for regional disease
prevention and control. Scientific reports 7:43932
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