Congress 2015


Download the 2015 Proceedings HERE

Thanks to our CE speakers, Dr Gavin Thomson, Dr Louis van Schalkwyk and Dr Peter Thompson, as well as all our presenting authors the 2015 congress in Bloemfontein was a great success. Please download the proceedings by clicking on the link above.

At the congress Dr Lesley van Helden was elected President of the executive committee and we welcome Dr Lisa Hiemstra to the committee.

Well done to this year’s winner of the Willie Ungerer Memorial Prize for Epidemiology which was awarded to Dr Grietjie de Klerk from the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. In the image below Dr de Klerk (Rt) receives the memorial shield from the new President of the Society, Dr van Helden (Lft)



Congress 2014


12th Annual Congress


The 12th annual congress of the SASVEPM was held in Port Elizabeth between 20 and 22 August 2014. The continuing education speaker was world renowned veterinary epidemiologist Prof Dirk Pfeiffer from the UK. He gave a total of 5 presentations on the topics of: Spatial analysis in Veterinary Epidemiology, Antimicrobial resistance in animals, a systems perspective of avian influenza and then a final talk on animal health decision making in a one health context. The global perspective that he portrayed was very informative and very applicable to to attendees of the congress.

The winner of the best presentation went to Dr Darryn Knobel (below left receiving his prize from Dr Alan Kalake – SASVEPM President) from the University of Pretoria. He presented on the control of rabies in dog populations and discussed vaccination strategies in conjunction with the R0 of the disease.


It was very good to see a number of young researchers presenting their work, including some non veterinarians. In particular there was a presentation from Ms.  Kemeiloe Malokotsa, a technician from ARC/OVI who is supervised by Dr Evelyn Madoroba. Kemeiloe presented on the “Virulence profiles and antimicrobial resistance patterns of Escherichia coli among diverse animal species in South Africa” Another excellent presentation was by Dr Laura Roberts, a masters student from the University of Pretoria, who presented on a very informative technique called multiple criteria decision analysis.

Dr John Grewar (below left) was awarded the annual Willie Ungerer Memorial Epidemiology Prize for 2013/14.

The congress was a sell out in terms of numbers and was our biggest congress to date with over 200 registrations. We look forward to continuing with this success when we host the next SASVEPM next year in the Free State province of South Africa.

Click on the following link to download the congress proceedings


The following links are to download the continuing education presentations kindly supplied by Prof Pfeiffer




Animal health decision making



CE Course 2014

CE Course 2014 – Tracing the source – social network analysis and EpiContactTrace

Dr John Grewar presented a workshop hosted by SASVEPM in early May 2014. The course focussed on network analysis in veterinary systems and contact tracing during outbreak investigations. Open source software was used (Cytoscape and R/RStudio with various packages including EpiContactTrace) to present to workshop. The focus was on practical ways of evaluating networks in disease and animal systems in order to best make decisions during outbreak investigations, like which farms are most suited to surveillance or which farms present the most risk to a network of farms. The R section of the course introduced the attendees to the EpiContactTrace package which assists in trace back and forwards during disease investigations.

Ten SASVEPM members completed the 2 day workshop and hopefully the knowledge gained will be put to good field use in the epidemiology field in South Africa. SASVEPM remain focussed on improving and uplifting the use of epidemiology in the veterinary field in its region of influence.


Congress 2013


11th Annual Congress

The 11th annual congress of the SASVEPM was a resounding success and we thank all the attendees who made it so worthwhile. It was one of our biggest congresses to date with in the region of 150 delegates!

Our continuing education speakers were superb. Dr Rebone Moerane gave excellent insights into the farm level primary animal health care that can be and is being implemented in rural areas and the impact thereof. Dr Misheck Mulumba spoke on the agricultural trade within SADC and the integration currently in place as well as on PPR’s current status in the SADC region. To download the SADC strategy on the control of PPR please click here.



The proceedings of the congress can be downloaded by clicking HERE.

Awards and Prizes

This year we introduced the Willie Ungerer Memorial Prize which will take the place of the yearly Epidemiology Prize. This prize is in memory of Dr Willie Ungerer who died suddenly in December 2012. He was a founding and very active member of the society. A floating trophy in the form of a shield was designed and a small trophy will be presented annually for the winner to keep. This year the prize was awarded to Mr Kevin Le Roux for his work on Rabies in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Dr Alan Kalake, the new chairperson of SASVEPM hands over the prize in the picture below.


The prize for the best presentation went to Dr Lin-Mari de Klerk-Lorist for an excellent talk on the risk of disease transmission associated with the translocation of wildlife.


Congratulations to Dr Lesley van Helden and Dr Charles Katsande who have been elected onto the executive committee of the society. Also congratulations to Alan Kalake who is the Chairperson for 2013/14. Please look at the committee’s page for a look at who is involved on the executive.


The constitution of the society has been revised to comply with South African SARS requirements – please review it HERE


Congress 2012

10th Annual SASVEPM Congress

Click here to view the 2012 Proceedings

1-3 August 2012 – Pretoria – South Africa

Our theme for this year’s congress was “Outbreak Investigation: Science and Intuition” and we want congratulate and thank all the presenters who made this years congress a successful event.

Dr Frederick Kivaria from Tanzania unfortunately could not join us as a result of a work commitment but he graciously allowed his work to be presented on his behalf. The information on PPR in Tanzania was very interesting and important to most of the audience as the attendees of this congress would be involved should PPR extend further south into South Africa and its neighbors.

Professor Lucille Blumberg once again provided a fascinating series of talks on the human health aspect of outbreak and outbreak investigation and kept the audience on the edges of their seats. We are also very happy to announce that Prof Blumberg receives SASVEPM’s annual Epidemiology Prize for 2012 for her contribution to the society and its objectives. Well done Lucille!

The recent CEM outbreak in horses in RSA was presented by Prof Alan Guthrie and the team that had first hand experience in this outbreak – this included Dr Martin Schulman, Dr Kate May and Dr Bronwyn Keys. This outbreak is a reminder that exotic diseases do unexpectantly occur from time to time and it is necessary to be on the lookout for them.

The rest of the presentations were very informative and we would also like to congratulate Dr Derryn Petty for winning the prize for the Best Presentation which discussed non-typhoidal salmonellas in the Gauteng region.

Thanks to Adri Fischer from Kingfischer Conference organisers for all her hard work!

The EXCO looks forward to seeing you next year.


2012 Congress Attendees


2012 SASVEPM Epidemiology Prize winner – Prof Lucille Blumberg on right


2012 Congress Best Presenter – Dr Derryn Petty on right


SASVEPM 2012 Pre-congress

SASVEPM 2012 Pre-congress Workshop Databases for Veterinarians

The annual congress of the Southern African Society of veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine was held in Pretoria between the 1st and 3rd of August 2012. There was however a pre-congress workshop on the 29th and 30th of July which was organised by Dr John Grewar (assisted by Dr Lesley van Helden) on behalf of SASVEPM.

Training was given to 11 attendees and the course was practically designed to teach database design with specific reference to veterinary officials. We made use of an actual outbreak dataset and evaluated the challenges and management of the data thereof. The delegates attending the workshop came predominately from the State and we had representation from DAFF, KZN, Free State, Eastern Cape, North West Province and Gauteng.

The course was intensive and attendees were taken were taken from learning the basics of designing a database for investigating a animal disease outbreak all the way to linking the data up with ArcGIS to spatially show the data in various ways.


Back from left: Dr Peter Geertsma, Mr Siyabonga Nguye, Mr Willie van Zyl, Dr John Grewar (co-ordinator), Dr Duma Mpofu, Dr Nhamo Nyanhongo, Dr Lesley van Helden

Front from left: Dr Lerato Kgatswetswe, Dr Johan Blignaut, Dr Vuyo Magadla, Dr Sunelle Strydom, Dr Sabine Kroll-Lwanga Iga

Insert: Dr Shashi Ramrajh


World Veterinary Congress 2011 – Epidemiology Stream

The World Veterinary Congress turned out to be a most informative and enjoyable event. The epidemiology stream was varied with topics ranging from sero-prevalence surveys in South America to some interesting rabies data from Gauteng and KZN. The guest speaker, Dr Angus Cameron, from AusVet services was inspirational and his talks were often fully attended in the venue. The final workshop he held on various surveillance problems was particularly informative and showed that surveillance techniques don’t always fit into a mould; every scenario requires application of various surveillance methods.


CE Course 2011

SASVEPM successfully hosted a CE course in May in Pretoria which was presented by Prof. Geoff Fosgate and Prof. Peter Thompson of the University of Pretoria, Faculty of Veterinary Science, entitled Disease Outbreak Investigation. It was a computer based course held over four days. Much hands-on experience on data cleaning, scenario analysis and statistical manipulation was presented. The various steps in a classical outbreak investigation in a outbreak of unknown aetiology were thoroughly work-shopped. Groups did a report back on their findings from a dataset supplied, with possible scenarios and interventions.Twenty one veterinarians and animal health technicians from all over South Africa attended. Feedback was very positive with comments like; “an excellent initiative and very relevant’; “very informative’; “enjoyable”; and “the interaction was superb”.SASVEPM hopes to be able to present this course on a regular basis and even to extend the content to a second phase. Information in this regard will be sent to members.



SASVEPM Congress 2010

The theme for the 2010 SASVEPM Congress was


which focussed on zoonoses and supporting the principle of “One World, One Health”.

Click here to download the 2010 Congress Proceedings

We were honoured to have an internationally acclaimed plenary speaker for the 2010 SASVEPM Congress in the person of Dr. Gideon Brückner. After a distinguished career in the South African Veterinary Services, Dr Brückner joined the OIE Central Bureau as Head of the Scientific and Technical Department at the beginning of 2006. In October 2007 he was promoted to Deputy Director General, Animal Health and International Trade. This achievement is a first for South Africa. Amongst others, he was instrumental in promoting OFFLU, the OIE/FAO network of expertise for avian influenza and the OIE initiative on laboratory twinning to enable access to scientific expertise for developing countries. He retired from the OIE at the end of March 2009 and returned to his home country, South Africa. During his time at the OIE in Paris, he managed to facilitate and initiate several aspects to the advantage of Africa and southern Africa. He was instrumental and the key driver to obtain OIE Reference Laboratory status for the Onderstepoort Institute for Epizootic diseases as well as the nomination and acceptance of the Faculty of Veterinary Science as an OIE Collaborating Centre for Training in integrated livestock and wildlife health and management. In May 2009, he was proposed by Africa and elected unanimously by the OIE International Assembly consisting of 174 countries, as President of the OIE Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases. In this capacity he will be able to further promote and serve the interests of the African continent.

Dr. Lucille Blumberg MBBCH, MMed (Micro) FFTM (Glasgow) DTMH DOH DCH was the continued education presenter for this congress. She is a deputy director at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in the National Health Laboratory Service in Johannesburg, South Africa and a lecturer and Professor at the Universities of the Witwatersrand and Stellenbosch respectively. She is head of the Epidemiology division which includes the surveillance, travel medicine and outbreak units at the NICD and is the medical consultant to the Special Pathogens Unit. Dr Blumberg qualified at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1974, worked in clinical medicine in paediatrics, critical care and infectious diseases before qualifying as a specialist microbiologist. She worked at the Sizwe Tropical and TB Hospital in Johannesburg from 1988-1991. Her special interests are tropical medicine, travel- related diseases, zoonotic diseases, severe malaria, drug- resistant tuberculosis, rabies and viral haemorrhagic fevers. She is a member of the National Malaria Advisory Group, the National Rabies Advisory Group and the National Outbreak Response Team.

We believe the congress was a success and we trust that the delegates will take valuable knowledge with them and make use of it in their daily work