Peter Kirkland

Research interests

  • Development of rapid diagnostic tests for viral diseases of animals and aquatic species
  • Studies of the epidemiology and control of arbovirus infections of livestock
  • Diagnosis, pathogenesis and control of pestivirus infections of livestock
  • Investigation of the pathogenesis of infections of pigs with Bungowannah virus, a novel pestivirus
  • Studies of Ostreid herpesvirus infections of Pacific oysters


Peter is a Senior Principal Research Scientist and Leader of the Animal Virology team at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute (EMAI), Menangle. He is the designated OIE Expert for bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) in the Virology Laboratory which is an OIE (World) Reference Laboratory for BVDV. Peter has a special interest and expertise in the development of rapid diagnostic tests for viral diseases of animals and aquatic species, studies of the epidemiology and control of insect vector borne infections of livestock and research related to the diagnosis, pathogenesis and control of pestivirus infections of livestock.

His research has led to the recognition of several new viruses that have caused major disease outbreaks in animals. Peter has published widely on these topics in major scientific journals and has been an author of more than 300 publications.

He has recently undertaken research to develop an experimental infection model for studies of infections of oysters with Ostreid herpesvirus and has ongoing studies of the application of this model system for the selection of Pacific oysters that are genetically resistant to infection with this virus.  Peter leads the team that has recently discovered and is now characterising a novel virus that is threatening the survival of an endangered species of turtle.

Peter has a degree in Veterinary Science from the University of Sydney and a PhD from the University of Newcastle and is the Technical Coordinator of the National Arbovirus Monitoring Programme managed by Animal Health Australia.


  • B.V.Sc. (Hons) – University of Sydney 1974
  • Ph.D – University of Newcastle 1985

Current projects

  • Development and evaluation of real time PCR assays for the detection of bluetongue and Simbu viruses in insects
  • Development of rapid diagnostic tests for typing of bluetongue viruses in insects and animals
  • Assays for detection of antibodies to Hendra virus in animals
  • Development of rapid diagnostic tests for pestiviruses including Bungowannah virus in pigs
  • Development of assays for the detection of CAE virus in goats
  • Studies of Australian strains of West Nile virus.
  • Studies of OsHv-1 virus in Pacific oysters

Recent publications

Gu, X., Davis, R.J. Walsh, S.J., Melville, L.F. and Kirkland, P.D. 2014. Longitudinal study of the detection of bluetongue virus in bull semen and comparison of real time polymerase chain reaction assays J. Vet. Diagn. Invest. 26:18-26.

Jenkins, C., Hick, P., Gabor, M., Spiers, Z., Fell, S.A., Gu, X., Read, A., Go,J., Dove, M., O'Connor, W., Kirkland, PD and Frances, J. 2013. First identification and characterisation of an ostreid herpesvirus-1 micro variant (OsHV-1 µ-var) in Crassostrea gigas (Pacific oysters) in Australia. Dis Aquatic Org. 105: 109-126.

Roche, S.E., Wicks, R., Garner, M.G., East, I.J., Paskin, R., Moloney, B.J., Carrd, M. and Kirkland, P. 2013. Descriptive overview of the 2011 epidemic of arboviral disease in horses in Australia. Aust vet J., 91:5-13

Arzey, G., Kirkland, P., Arzey E., Frost, M., Maywood, P., Conaty, S., Hurt, A., Deng, Y-M., Iannello, P., Barr, I., Dwyer, D., Ratnamohan, M., McPhie, K., and Selleck, P. Influenza A/H10N7 infection in chickens and poultry abattoir workers in Australia. Emerg Infect Dis. 2012 May; 18(5): 814–816.

Belaganahalli, M.N., Maan, S., Maan, N.S., Nomikou, K., Pritchard, I., Lunt, R., Kirkland, P.D., Attoui, H., Brownlie, J., Mertens, P.P.C., 2012, Full Genome Sequencing and Genetic Characterization of Eubenangee Viruses Identify Pata Virus as a Distinct Species within the Genus Orbivirus. 2011. PLoS One 7: e31911. 1-11

Finlaison D.S., King K.R., Gabor, M., and Kirkland, P.D. 2012. An experimental study of Bungowannah virus infection in weaner aged pigs. Vet Microbiol. 160: 245-250.

Frost, M.J. Zhang, J., Edmonds, J.H. Prow, N.A. Gu, X., Davis, R., Hornitzky, C., Arzey, K.E., Finlaison, D., Hick, P., Read, A., Hobson-Peters, J., May, F.J., Doggett, S.L., Haniotis, J., Russell, R.C., Hall, R.A., Khromykh, A.A. and Kirkland P.D.. 2012 Characterization of Virulent West Nile Virus Kunjin Strain, Australia, 2011. Emerging Infect Dis. 18: 792-800.

Hick, P.M., Read, A.J., Lugton, I., Busfield, F., Dawood, K.E., Gabor, L., Hornitzky M. and Kirkland, P.D. 2012. Coronavirus infection in intensively managed cattle with respiratory disease. Aust vet J., 90: 381-386

Izzo M.M., Kirkland P.D., Gu X., Lele Y., Gunn A.A., House J.K. 2012. Comparison of three diagnostic techniques for detection of rotavirus and coronavirus in calf faeces in Australia. Australian Veterinary Journal. 90:122-129. 25

Read, A. J., Arzey, K.E., Gu, X., Davis, R.J., Ritchie, L., Finlaison, D.S. and Kirkland P.D. 2012. Evaluation of the performance characteristics of diagnostic assays for equine influenza virus in a longitudinal study of naturally infected horses. Vet. Microbiol., 156: 246-255.

Rose, K.A., Kirkland, P.D., Davis, R.J., Reddacliff, L.R. Cooper, D.W., Blumstein, D., Pritchard, L.I., Newberry, K.M.and Lunt R.A. (2012). Epizootics of sudden death in tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii) associated with orbivirus infection. Aust vet J, 90: 505-509.

Finlaison, D.S. Cook, R.W., Srivastava, M., Frost, M.J., King, K.R,.and Kirkland, P.D. 2010. Experimental infections of the porcine foetus with Bungowannah virus, a novel pestivirus. Vet Microbiol 144: 32-40

Kirkland, P.D., Finlaison, D.S., Crispe, E. and Hurt, A.C. 2010. Influenza virus transmission from horses to dogs, Australian. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 16: 699-702.

Finlaison, D.S., Read, A.J. and Kirkland, P.D. 2010. An epizootic of bovine ephemeral fever in New South Wales in 2008 due to long distance dispersal of vectors. Aust. Vet. J. 88:301-306

Ridpath, J.F., Fulton, R.W., Kirkland, P.D. and Neill, J.D. 2010 Prevalence and antigenic differences observed between bovine viral diarrhea virus subgenotypes isolated from cattle in Australia and feedlots in the southwestern United States J. Vet. Diagn. Invest. 22: 184-191.

Kirkland P.D., Poynting, A.J., Gu, X. and Davis, R.J. 2009. Infertility and venereal disease in cattle associated with bovine herpesvirus type 5 contamination of semen. Vet Rec., 165:111-113 51)

Finlaison, D.S., King, K.R. Frost, M.J. and Kirkland, P.D. 2009. Field and laboratory evidence that Bungowannah virus, a recently recognised pestivirus, is the causative agent of the porcine myocarditis syndrome (PMC). Vet Microbiol 136: 259-265 53)

Jeggo, M.H., Kirkland, P.D. and Hammond, J. 2008. The initial laboratory diagnosis of equine influenza in Australia in 2007. Microbiol. Aust. 29: 79

Philbey, A.W., Kirkland P.D. Ross, A.D., Field, H.E., Srivastava, M., Davis R.J. and Love, R.J. 2008. Evidence of infection with Menangle virus in flying foxes (Pteropus spp) in Australia. Aust vet J, 86: 449-454.

Kirkland PD, Frost MJ, Finlaison DS, King KR, Ridpath JF and Gu X (2007) Identification of a novel virus in pigs – Bungowannah virus: a possible new species of pestivirus. Virus Res, 129: 26-34Kirkland PD, Melville LF, Hunt NT, Williams CF and Davis RJ (2004) Excretion of bluetongue virus in cattle semen: a feature of laboratory-adapted virus. Vet Ital, 40: 497-501.

Kirkland PD, Zhang N, Hawkes RA, Li Z, Zhang F, Li H, Zhang K, Ben J, He GF, Davis RJ, Sanders DA, Hornitzky CL, and Hunt NT (2002) Studies on the epidemiology of bluetongue virus in China. Epidemiol Infect, 128: 257-263.

Kirkland PD, Love RJ, Philbey AW, Ross AD, Davis RJ and Hart KG (2001) Epidemiology and control of Menangle virus in pigs. Aust vet J, 79: 199-206.

Love RJ, Philbey AW, Kirkland PD, Ross AD, Davis RJ, Morrissey and Daniels PW (2001) Reproductive disease and congenital malformations in pigs caused by Menangle virus. Aust vet J, 79:190-196.

Hawkes RA, Kirkland PD, Sanders DA, Zhang F, Li Z, Davis RJ and Zhang N (2000) Laboratory and field studies of an antigen capture ELISA for bluetongue virus. J virol Meth, 85: 137-149.

Reddacliff L, Kirkland P, Philbey A, Davis R, Vogelnest L, Hulst F, Blyde D, Deykin A, Smith J, Hooper P, Gould A and Hyatt A (1999) Experimental reproduction of viral chorioretinitis in kangaroos. Aust vet J, 77: 522-528.

Hosseini M, Hawkes RA, Kirkland PD and Dixon RJ (1998) Rapid screening of embryonated chicken eggs for bluetongue virus infection with an antigen capture enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. J virol Meth, 75:39-46.

Philbey AW, Kirkland PD, Ross AD, Davis RJ, Gleeson AB, Love RJ, Daniels PW, Gould AR and Hyatt AD (1998) An apparently new virus (Family Paramyxoviridae) infectious for pigs, humans and fruit bats. Emerg infect Dis, 4: 269-271.

Kirkland PD, Richards SG, Rothwell JT and Stanley DF (1991) Replication of bovine viral diarrhoea virus in the bovine reproductive tract and excretion of virus in semen during acute and chronic infections. Vet Rec, 128:587 590.

Shannon AD, Richards SG, Kirkland PD and Moyle AM (1991) An antigen capture ELISA detects pestivirus antigens in blood and tissues of immunotolerant carrier cattle. J virol Meth, 34:1-12.

McGowan MR, Kirkland PD, Littlejohns IR and Richards SG (1993) Reduced reproductive performance in cattle following infection with Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus around the time of insemination. Vet Rec, 133:39-43.

Other key publications

Izzo, M.M., Kirkland, P.D., Mohler, V.L., Perkins, N.R. Gunn, A.A. and House, J.K. 2011 Prevalence of major enteric pathogens in Australian dairy calves with diarrhoea. Aust. Vet. J. 89: 167-173.

Richter, M, Reimann, I., Wegelt, A., Kirkland, P.D. and Beer, M. 2011 Trans-complementation studies with the novel “Bungowannah” virus support the classification into the genus Pestivirus and provide new insights in the compatibility of pestivirus proteins Virol 418: 113-122

Kirkland, P.D. 2011. Reflections on the 2007 equine influenza outbreak. Microbiology Australia 32: 45-47.

Diallo, I.S., Read, A.J., Kirkland, P.D. 2011. The potential of vaccination to confound interpretation of real-time PCR results for equine influenza. Vet Rec. 169: 252.

Holyoake, Kirkland, P.D., Davis, R.J., Arzey, K.E. Watson, J., Lunt, R.A., Wang, J., Wong, F., Moloney, B.J. and Dunn, S.E., 2011. The first identified case of pandemic H1N1 influenza in pigs in Australia 89: 427-431.

Watson, J., Daniels, P., Kirkland, P., Carroll, A. and Jeggo, M. 2011. The 2007 outbreak of equine influenza in Australia; lessons learned for international trade in horses. Rev. sci. tech. Off. int. Epiz., 30: 87-93

Hansbro, P.M.. Warner, S., O'Riley, K., Kirkland, P.D., Arzey, K.E., Tracey, J.P., Selleck, P.S. Bunn, C Olsen, B and Hurt, A.C. 2010. Surveillance and ecology of avian influenza viruses in Australia: Identification of a third lineage. Emerging Infect Dis. 16 (12): 1986–1904.

Kirkland, P.D., Davis, R.J., Wong, D., Ryan, D., Hart, K., Corney, B., Hewitson, G., Cooper, K., Biddle, A., Eastwood, S., Slattery, S., Rayward, D., Evers, M., Wright, T., Halpin, K., Selleck, P. and Watson, J. 2010. The first 5 days - field and laboratory investigations during the early stages of the equine influenza outbreak in Australia. Aust. Vet. J. 89:6-10.

Crispe, E., Finlaison, D.S. Hurt, A.C and Kirkland, P.D. 2010. Infection of dogs with equine influenza virus – evidence for transmission from horses during the Australian outbreak. Aust. Vet. J. 89: 27-28

Kirkland, P.D. 2010. Role of the diagnostic laboratories during the 2007 equine influenza outbreak in Australia. Aust. Vet. J. 89: 29-32.

Read, A.J. Finlaison, D.S. Gu, X., Davis, R.J. Arzey, K.E. and Kirkland, P.D. 2010. Application of real time PCR and ELISA assays for equine influenza virus to determine the duration of shedding and onset of antibody response in naturally infected horses. Aust. Vet. J. 89: 42-43.

Kirkland, P.D. and Delbridge, G. 2010. Use of a blocking ELISA for antibodies to equine influenza virus as a test to distinguish between naturally infected and vaccinated horses – proof of concept studies. Aust. Vet. J. 89: 45-46

Kirkland, P.D. Davis, R.J. Gu, X. and Frost, M.J. 2010. Application of high through-put systems for the rapid detection of DNA and RNA viruses during the Australian equine influenza outbreak. Aust. Vet. J. 89: 38-39

Diallo, I, Read, A.J. and Kirkland P.D. 2010. Positive results in a real time PCR for Type A influenza associated with the use of an inactivated equine influenza vaccine. Aust. Vet. J. 89: 145-146.

Minke, J.M., El-Hage, C.M., P Tazawa, Homer, D., Lemaitre, L, Cozette, V, Gilkerson, J.R, and Kirkland P.D. 2010. Evaluation of the response to an accelerated immunisation schedule using a canarypox-vectored equine influenza vaccine, shortened interdose intervals and vaccination of young foals Aust. Vet J. 89: 137–139.

Kannegieter, N., Frogley, A. Crispe, E. and Kirkland, P.D. 2010. Clinical outcomes and virology of equine influenza in a naïve population and in horses infected soon after receiving one dose of vaccine. Aust. Vet. J. 89: 139-142. 49)

Sergeant, E.S.G., Kirkland, P.D. and Cowled, B.D. 2009. Field evaluation of an Equine Influenza ELISA using emergency field data from the recent Australian epidemic Prev. Vet. Med. 92:382-385.

Haynes, L., Arzey, E., Bell, C., Buchanan, N., Burgess, G., Cronan, V., Dickason, C., Field, H., Gibbs, S., Hansbroj, P.M., Hollingsworth, T., Hurt, A.C., Kirkland, P., McCracken, H., O'Connor, J., Tracey, J., Wallner, J., Warner, S., Watkins, D., Woods, R. and Bunn C. 2009. Australian surveillance for avian influenza viruses in wild birds (July 2005 to June 2007. Aust vet J, 87: 266-272.

Philbey AW, Ross AD, Kirkland PD and Love RJ (2007) Skeletal and neurological malformations in pigs congenitally infected with Menangle virus. Aust vet J, 85: 134-140.

Finlaison DS, Kirkland PD, Luong R and Ross AD (2007) A survey for porcine circovirus 2 and postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome in New South Wales piggeries. Aust vet J 85: 304-310.

Yu Y-Z, McKay K, van Asperen P, Zheng M, Fleming J, Ginn SL, Kizana E, Latham M, Feneley MP, Kirkland PD, Rowe PB, Lumbers ER and Alexander IA (2007) Lentivirus vector-mediated gene transfer to the developing bronchiolar airway epithelium in the fetal lamb. J. Gene Med. 9: 429-439.

McLelland DJ, Kirkland PD, Rose KA, Dixon RJ and Smith N (2005) The trial of an inactivated vaccine for encephalomyocarditis virus in ungulates, macropods and primates. J. Zoo Wildl Med, 36: 69-73.

McOrist S, Thornton E, Peake A, Walker R, Robson S, Finlaison D, Kirkland P, Reece R, Ross A, Walker K, Hyatt A and Morrissy C (2004) An infectious myocarditis syndrome affecting late-term and neonatal piglets.Aust vet J, 82: 509-511.

McGowan MR, Kafi M, Kirkland PD, Kelly R, Bielefeldt-Ohmann H, D'Occhio M, and Jillela D (2003) Studies of the pathogenesis of bovine pestivirus-induced ovarian dysfunction in superovulated dairy cattle. Theriogenol, 59:1051-1066.

Selleck PW, Arzey G, Kirkland PD, Reece RL, Gould AR, Daniels PW and Westbury HA (2003) An outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Australia in 1997 caused by an H7N4 virus. Avian Dis, 47:806-811.

Kafi M, McGowan MR and Kirkland PD (2002) In vitro maturation and fertilization of bovine oocytes and in vitro culture of presumptive zygotes in the presence of bovine pestivirus. Anim Reprod Sci, 71: 169-179.

Swasdipan S, Bielefeldt-Ohmann H, Phillips N, Kirkland PD and McGowan MR (2001) Rapid transplacental infection with bovine pestivirus following intranasal inoculation of ewes in early pregnancy. Vet Pathol, 38: 275-280.

Hooper PT, Lunt RA, Gould AR, Hyatt AD, Russell GM, Kattenbelt JA, Blacksell SD, Reddacliff LA, Kirkland PD, Davis RJ, Durham PJK, Bishop AL and Waddington J (1999) Epidemic of blindness in kangaroos – evidence of a viral aetiology. Aust vet J, 77: 529-536.

Chant K, Chan R, Smith M, Dwyer DE, Kirkland PD and the NSW Expert Group. (1998) Probable human infection with a newly described virus in the Family Paramyxoviridae. Emerg infect Dis, 4: 273-275.

Kirkland PD, McGowan MR, Mackintosh SG and Moyle AM (1997) Insemination of cattle with semen from a bull transiently infected with pestivirus. Vet Rec, 140:124-127.

Kafi M, McGowan MR, Kirkland PD and Jillella D (1997) The effect of bovine pestivirus infection on the superovulatory response of Friesian heifers. Theriogenol, 48: 985-996.

Reddacliff GL, Kirkland PD, Hartley WJ and Reece R (1997) Encephalomyocarditis virus infections at an Australian zoo. J Zoo wildl Med, 28: 153-157.

Curran G, Reddacliff L, Menke L, Witte I, Segboer I, Hooper P, and Kirkland PD (1997) Investigating the epidemiology of a new disease: Viral blindness of kangaroos. Epidemiol sante anim, 31-32: 1.16.1 - 1.16.3

Kafi M, McGowan MR, Jillella D, Fenwick D, Johnston S and Kirkland PD (1996) The effect of bovine pestivirus on ovulation in superovulated Friesian heifers. Theriogenol, 45:317.

Bishop AL, Kirkland PD, McKenzie HJ and Barchia IM (1996) The dispersal of Culicoides brevitarsis in eastern New South Wales and associations with the occurrence of arbovirus infections in cattle. Aust vet J, 73:174-178.

Kirkland PD, Reddacliff L, Philbey A, Curran G, Hooper P, Gould A, Hyatt A, Rawlin G, Durham P, and Richards B (1996) Blindness in kangaroos due to orbivirus infections. Microbiol Aust, 17: p43.

Murray MD and Kirkland PD (1995) Bluetongue and Douglas virus activity in New South Wales in 1989: further evidence for long-distance dispersal of the biting midge Culicoides brevitarsis. Aust vet J, 72:56-57.

Greenwood P, North RN and Kirkland PD (1995) Prevalence, spread and control of caprine arthritis-encephalitis virus in dairy goat herds in New South Wales. Aust vet J, 72:341-345.

Kirkland PD and McGowan MR (1995) Early reproductive loss due to bovine pestivirus infection. Br vet J, 151: 263-270.

Bishop AL, Kirkland PD, McKenzie HJ, Spohr LJ, Barchia IM and Muller MJ (1995) Distribution and seasonal movements of Culicoides brevitarsis Keiffer (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) at the southern limits of its distribution in New South Wales and their correlation with arboviruses affecting livestock. J Aust ent Soc, 34:289-298.

Kirkland PD, Mackintosh SG and Moyle A (1994) The outcome of widespread use of semen from a bull persistently infected with bovine viral diarrhoea virus. Vet Rec,135:527-529.

Kafi M, McGowan MR, Jillella D, Johnston S and Kirkland PD (1994) The effect of bovine pestivirus on ovulation in superovulated heifers. Theriogenol, 41:223.

Jagoe S, Kirkland PD and Harper PAW (1993) An outbreak of Akabane virus induced abnormalities in calves following agistment in an endemic region. Aust vet J, 70:56-58.

Shannon AD, Mackintosh SG and Kirkland PD (1993) Identification of pestivirus carrier calves by an antigen-capture ELISA method. Aust vet J, 70:74-75.

McGowan MR, Kirkland PD, Rodwell BJ, Kerr DR and Carroll CL (1993) A field investigation of the effects of bovine viral diarrhea virus infection around the time of insemination on the reproductive performance of cattle. Theriogenol, 39: 443-449.

Carrigan M, Cosgrove P, Kirkland P and Sabine M (1991) An outbreak of Equid herpesvirus abortion in New South Wales.Equine vet J, 23:108 110.

Kirkland PD, Hart KG, Moyle A and Rogan E (1990) The impact of pestivirus on an artificial breeding program for cattle. Aust vet J, 67:261 263.

Kirkland PD, Gleeson A, Hawkes RA, Naim HM and Boughton CR (1989) Human infection with encephalomyocarditis virus in New South Wales. Med J Aust, 151:176 177.

Scott NA, Whalley JM, Mattick JS, Underwood PA, Williams KL and Kirkland PD (1988) Identification of major antigenic proteins of bovine herpesvirus 1 and their correlation with neutralizing activity.Vet Microbiol, 16:109 121.

Kirkland PD, Barry RD, Harper PAW and Zelski RZ (1988) The development of Akabane virus induced congenital abnormalities in cattle. Vet Rec, 122:582 586.

Eamens GJ, Kirkland PD, Gardner IA, White MP and Hornitzky CL (1988) Identification of toxigenic Pasteurella multocida in atrophic rhinitis of pigs by in vitro characterisation. Aust vet J, 65:120 123.

Uren MF, St George TD, Kirkland PD, Stranger RS and Murray MD (1987) Epidemiology of Bovine Ephemeral Fever in Australia 1981 1985. Aust J biol Sci, 40:125 136.

Kirkland PD and Batty EM (1987) Caprine arthritis encephalitis virus: an efficient method for the large scale production of serological antigens. J virol Meth, 16:323 326.

Tarigan S, Webb RF and Kirkland PD (1987) Caprine herpesvirus from balanoposthitis. Aust vet J, 64:321.

Kirkland PD, Barry RD and Macadam JF (1983) An impending epidemic of bovine congenital abnormalities. Aust vet J, 60:221 223.

Kirkland PD, Moore RE, Walker KH, Seaman JT and Dunn SE (1982) Deaths in cattle associated with S. lautus consumption. Aust vet J, 59:64.

Walker KH and Kirkland PD (1981) Senecio lautus toxicity in cattle. Aust vet J, 57:1 7.

Professional associations and activities

  • Member of Board of the World Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (2007 - ) (President 2007-9)
  • Founding President of the Australian Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (2005 - )
  • Fellow, Australian Society of Microbiology

Fields of research

  • 070703 Veterinary Diagnosis and Diagnostics
  • 070704 Veterinary Epidemiology
  • 070709 Veterinary Pathology
  • 070712 Veterinary Virology

Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

  • Veterinary virology
  • Vector borne viruses
  • Animal health
  • Diagnostic virology
  • Rapid diagnostic tests

Contact details