Press Releases
Royal Veterinary College uses @RISK
from Palisade to Combat Avian Flu

12 March 2008 - The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is using @RISK risk analysis software from Palisade as part of its research aimed at developing methods for controlling and preventing the occurrence of dangerous and infectious diseases in animals.  A key area ofresearch for the RVC, the UK's largest vet school and one of the most highly regarded veterinary research centres in Europe, is avian flu.

The RVC's Epidemiology Division conducts research into the factors influencing animal health. In the case of 'bird flu', this includes identifying the risks associated with the disease such as how it is spread and the likelihood of occurrence.  The investigators build their findings into @RISK models, run thousands of simulations, and then analyse the outcomes to determine appropriate activities for preventing spread of the infection.

When determining risks, the RVC examines the likelihood of an infected migratory bird coming to the UK.  This requires knowledge about how prevalent the disease is in that particular species of bird, and how many birds will migrate.  The likelihood of the migratory birds coming into contact with domestic birds, such as free-range chickens, must also be assessed – many wild birds are more likely to remain on wetland areas where they congregate and therefore only mix with other wild birds.  Temperature must also be accounted for as viruses survive longer in the cold.

Data about the risk factors influencing the spread of avian flu to the UK are used in the @RISK model, which calculates the likelihood of thousands of possible outcomes, thus providing crucial insight into suggested control measures.  For example, slaughtering poultry on and around infected farms is the most drastic resolution.  However, if the @RISK model indicates that the chance of that particular episode of avian flu spreading is very low, it may be possible to adopt an alternative strategy, such as seclusion, that is statistically sufficient for mitigating the chances of infection.

Professor Pfeiffer, leader of the RVC's Epidemiology Division, has used @RISK for many years.  “Palisade is something like a Microsoft of risk analysis software, therefore we felt it was the most appropriate tool for the RVC to use for this particular task.  We deal with issues that have significant health risks to animals and humans, as well as economic impact, which is why we need supporting software that is powerful, sophisticated, and flexible.  @RISK ensures that the various organisations that depend on our advice are provided with the best possible solution available to them.”

About Palisade and @RISK
Palisade is the market leader in risk and decision analysis software for Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Project. Headquartered in Ithaca, New York, where the company was founded, Palisade also maintains offices in London, England; Sydney, Australia, and offers special services to Latin American customers. Palisade users can be found in over 100 countries, and include the likes of AT&T, Hewlett Packard, Hitachi, IBM, Proctor & Gamble, Dow Chemical, Citigroup, Bristol Myers-Squibb, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Unilever, London Underground, Infineon and Statoil. @RISK, Palisade’s flagship product, is an Excel add-in for risk analysis using Monte Carlo simulation to show all possible outcomes and their likelihood of occurrence.

About the Royal Veterinary College
The Royal Veterinary College is the UK's first and largest veterinary school and a constituent College of the University of London. The College is one of the leading veterinary research centres in Europe and received 5 out of 5 in the latest Research Assessment Exercise. It also provides support for veterinary and related professions through its three referral hospitals, diagnostic services and continuing professional development courses.

For more information, contact:

Randy Heffernan
Tel: +1 607-277-8000
Fax: +1 607-277-8001

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