Epizootiology

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epizootiology

[‚ep·ə·zō‚äd·ē′äl·ə·jē]
(veterinary medicine)
The study of epizootics.

Epizootiology

 

a science that deals with the origin, spread, and abatement of contagious diseases of animals (that is, with the patterns of the epizootic process) and methods of preventing and controlling them.

Empirical methods of preventing and controlling epizootics were devised long before the causative agents of contagious diseases were discovered. Bacteriological studies conducted in the late 19th century constituted the scientific foundation of epizootiology. Epizootiology flourished as a result of research by L. Pasteur, R. Koch, E. Metchnikoff, and D. I. Ivanovskii. These outstanding scientists contributed to the discovery of the causative agents of infectious animal diseases and the production of specific preparations for their diagnosis and prevention. Their work led to the evolution of epizootiology as a scientific discipline.

Major figures in the development of epizootiology include the Russian scientists L. S. Tsenkovskii, creator of the first Russian anthrax vaccines, and Kh. I. Gel’man and O. I. Kal’ning, both of whom discovered mallein. S. N. Vyshelesskii, who studied many infectious diseases of animals, for example, glanders, tuberculosis, and brucellosis, made a particularly important contribution to the development of epizootiology in Russia. After the October Revolution of 1917, the USSR encouraged the growth of epizootiology. The network of veterinary schools, research institutes, and bacteriological laboratories was expanded considerably, and biologicals were produced in many industrial plants. Soviet epi-zootiologists and microbiologists, availing themselves of the advantages of the socialist economy, cooperated with veterinarians to eradicate many highly contagious diseases, for example, rinderpest, peripneumonia of cattle, and glanders, and limit the spread of a number of other diseases, for example, anthrax and hog cholera.

The main objectives of modern epizootiology include a thorough study of the epizootic process and the development and improvement of methods of preventing and controlling infectious diseases of animals, for example, foot-and-mouth disease, rinderpest, hog cholera, and Newcastle disease, as well as those that strike animals and humans, for example, rabies, anthrax, brucellosis, and tuberculosis. Other important objectives are the determination of the causes of the periodicity of certain diseases, study of certain aspects of the microbe-carrying state and geographic epizootiology, standardization of epizootiological terms, and preparation of forecasts.

Progress in epizootiology has been linked with advances in veterinary microbiology and immunology because of the research methods borrowed from these disciplines. Epizootiologists employ methods of clinical diagnosis, pathology, physiology, and therapy. They also devise measures of combatting disease in cooperation with specialists in hygiene, veterinary sanitation, and the administration of veterinary affairs.

Epizootiologists study diseases common to humans and animals in close cooperation with epidemiologists. Epizootiology is associated with geography, rural economy, zoology, and parasitology. It uses an original method of epizootiological research, which is based on comparative historical and comparative geographic descriptions, epizootiological surveys, epizootiological experiments, and mathematical methods, including the use of computers. Epizootiological research provides the information needed for epizootiological forecasts and for the prevention and eradication of infectious diseases of animals. Epizootiological research also uses the methods of biochemistry, biophysics, molecular biology, genetics, cytology, and radiology.

Epizootiology is taught in veterinary academies and institutes in the veterinary departments and departments of animal science at agricultural institutes. Research is conducted in a number of institutes, such as the All-Union Institute of Experimental Veterinary Medicine, the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Veterinary Virology and Microbiology, and the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Veterinary Sanitation, as well as in universities and at veterinary experiment stations. Diseases common to animals and humans are studied in institutes of medical research. Articles on general and specialized epizootiology are published in the journals Veterinariia (published since 1924 under various titles) and Vestnik sel’skokhoziaistvennoi nauki (Journal of Agricultural Science, since 1956) and in medical journals.

REFERENCES

Gannushkin, M. S. Obshchaia epizootologiia, 4th ed. Moscow, 1961.
Lukashev, I.I. Chastnaia epizootologiia. Moscow, 1961.
Bakulov, I. A., and M. G. Tarshis. Geografiia boleznei zhivotnykh zarubezhnykh stran. Moscow, 1971.
Epizootologiia, 2nd ed. Edited by R. F. Sosov. Moscow, 1974.
Slovar’ epizootologicheskikh terminov. Moscow, 1975.

I. A. BAKULOV

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