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Simmons H.A.,Animal and Plant Health Agency | Gough K.C.,University of Nottingham | Maddison B.C.,ADAS UK Ltd.
Veterinary Record | Year: 2015

Scrapie of sheep/goats and chronic wasting disease of deer/elk are contagious prion diseases where environmental reservoirs are directly implicated in the transmission of disease. In this study, the effectiveness of recommended scrapie farm decontamination regimens was evaluated by a sheep bioassay using buildings naturally contaminated with scrapie. Pens within a farm building were treated with either 20,000 parts per million free chorine solution for one hour or were treated with the same but were followed by painting and full re-galvanisation or replacement of metalwork within the pen. Scrapie susceptible lambs of the PRNP genotype VRQ/VRQ were reared within these pens and their scrapie status was monitored by recto-anal mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue. All animals became infected over an 18-month period, even in the pen that had been subject to the most stringent decontamination process. These data suggest that recommended current guidelines for the decontamination of farm buildings following outbreaks of scrapie do little to reduce the titre of infectious scrapie material and that environmental recontamination could also be an issue associated with these premises. Source

Swart A.N.,National Institute for Public Health and the Environment | Evers E.G.,National Institute for Public Health and the Environment | Simons R.L.L.,Animal and Plant Health Agency | Swanenburg M.,Central Veterinary Institute
Risk Analysis | Year: 2016

In this article we present a model for Salmonella contamination of pig carcasses in the slaughterhouse. This model forms part of a larger QMRA (quantitative microbial risk assessment) on Salmonella in slaughter and breeder pigs, which uses a generic model framework that can be parameterized for European member states, to describe the entire chain from farm-to-consumption and the resultant human illness. We focus on model construction, giving mathematical formulae to describe Salmonella concentrations on individual pigs and slaughter equipment at different stages of the slaughter process. Variability among individual pigs and over slaughterhouses is incorporated using statistical distributions, and simulated by Monte Carlo iteration. We present the results over the various slaughter stages and show that such a framework is especially suitable to investigate the effect of various interventions. In this article we present the results of the slaughterhouse module for two case study member states. The model outcome represents an increase in average prevalence of Salmonella contamination and Salmonella numbers at dehairing and a decrease of Salmonella numbers at scalding. These results show good agreement when compared to several other QMRAs and microbiological studies. © 2016 Society for Risk Analysis. Source

Dastjerdi A.,Animal and Plant Health Agency Weybridge | Carr J.,Howells Veterinary Services Ltd | Ellis R.J.,Animal and Plant Health Agency Weybridge | Steinbach F.,Animal and Plant Health Agency Weybridge | Williamson S.,Animal and Plant Health Agency
Emerging Infectious Diseases | Year: 2015

An outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea occurred in the summer of 2014 in Ukraine, severely affecting piglets <10 days of age; the mortality rate approached 100%. Full genome sequencing showed the virus to be closely related to strains reported from North America, showing a sequence identity of up to 99.8%. © 2015, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All rights reserved. Source

News Article
Site: http://phys.org/biology-news/

The trials, undertaken by the University of Oxford, the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority and the UK Animal and Plant Health Agency in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia, are the first ever conducted in wild populations of an endangered carnivore. Researchers from Ethiopia and the UK tested various types of baits and ways to deliver the vaccine, trialling SAG2 in three wolf packs. Of 21 wolves trapped after vaccinations, 14 were positive for a biomarker indicating that the animal had ingested the bait; of these, half showed antibody titres in blood above the universally recognised threshold, and 86% had levels considered sufficient to provide protective immunity to wildlife. Wolves were closely monitored after the vaccination, and all but one of the wolves vaccinated were alive 14 months later (higher than average survival). Oral vaccination proved to be the answer to controlling rabies in wild populations of red foxes and northern raccoons in Europe and North America, but the approach has never been tested in wild populations of endangered carnivores such as Ethiopian wolves and African wild dogs, which are at risk of extinction because of outbreaks of infectious diseases. Rabies is a virus that kills people, domestic livestock and wild animals worldwide, and is particularly prevalent in the highlands of Ethiopia, where rabies recurrently jumps from domestic dogs into their wild relatives, the charismatic Ethiopian wolves. With fewer than 500 adult wolves left in half a dozen mountain ranges, and no captive populations, Ethiopian wolves are much rarer than giant pandas and unlikely to sustain the immediate and present threats rising from growing numbers of dogs and people living in and around their mountain enclaves. But with wolves living in a sea of domestic dogs, in shrinking habitat islands, there is no time left to waste. Oral vaccination offers a more cost-efficient, safe and proactive approach to protect Ethiopian wolves and other threatened canids from rabies. Lead author Professor Claudio Sillero-Zubiri, of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford, said: 'We now have a safe vaccine, a suitable bait, an efficient delivery method, and trained monitoring teams in place - all crucial steps which open up the possibility for scaling up the oral vaccination and protecting the wolf populations at risk, before disease strikes again.' Head wolf monitor Alo Hussein, of the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme (EWCP), said: 'In spite of investing in excess of US$30,000 a year vaccinating thousands of domestic dogs, it has been impossible to attain a level of dog vaccinations that would remove the risk of wolves getting infected, due to the large and dynamic dog population in the Bale Mountains.' Professor Tony Fooks, of the Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, and the Animal and Plant Health Agency, said: 'These preliminary results using an oral vaccination strategy to protect Ethiopian wolves against rabies are encouraging and provide proof-of-principle for the use of this approach in wild canids.' Dr Fekede Regassa, of the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority, said: 'Since 1990, four major rabies outbreaks led each time to the crash of the Bale Mountains wolf population, the world's largest, typically killing 50-75% of the subpopulation affected. EWCP vaccinates wolves reactively whenever a rabies outbreak is confirmed, contributing to contain the disease, but only after many wolves die - by the time rabies is detected, the virus is well established, and as wolves are highly social, it spreads fast.' More information: Claudio Sillero-Zubiri et al, Feasibility and efficacy of oral rabies vaccine SAG2 in endangered Ethiopian wolves, Vaccine (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.08.021

McKenzie A.J.,Northumbria University | Robertson P.A.,Northumbria University | Robertson P.A.,Animal and Plant Health Agency
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Our ecological knowledge base is extensive, but the motivations for research are many and varied, leading to unequal species representation and coverage. As this evidence is used to support a wide range of conservation, management and policy actions, it is important that gaps and biases are identified and understood. In this paper we detail a method for quantifying research effort and impact at the individual species level, and go on to investigate the factors that best explain between-species differences in outputs. We do this using British breeding birds as a case study, producing a ranked list of species based on two scientific publication metrics: total number of papers (a measure of research quantity) and h-index (a measure of the number of highly cited papers on a topic an indication of research quality). Widespread, populous species which are native, resident and in receipt of biodiversity action plans produced significantly higher publication metrics. Guild was also significant, birds of prey the most studied group, with pigeons and doves the least studied. The model outputs for both metrics were very similar, suggesting that, at least in this example, research quantity and quality were highly correlated. The results highlight three key gaps in the evidence base, with fewer citations and publications relating to migrant breeders, introduced species and species which have experienced contractions in distribution. We suggest that the use of publication metrics in this way provides a novel approach to understanding the scale and drivers of both research quantity and impact at a species level and could be widely applied, both taxonomically and geographically. © 2015 McKenzie, Robertson. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Source

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