Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency

Addlestone, United Kingdom

Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency

Addlestone, United Kingdom
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Del Rio Vilas V.J.,Food and Rural Affairs | Del Rio Vilas V.J.,Bechtel Corporation | Voller F.,Food and Rural Affairs | Voller F.,Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency | And 6 more authors.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2013

The UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs supports the use of systematic tools for the prioritisation of known and well defined animal diseases to facilitate long and medium term planning of surveillance and disease control activities. The recognition that emerging events were not covered by the existing disease-specific approaches led to the establishment of the Veterinary Risk Group (VRG), constituted of government officials, and supporting structures such as the Risk Management Cycle and the Emerging Threat Highlight Report (ETHiR), to facilitate the identification, reporting and assessment of emerging threats to UK's animal health. Since its inception in November 2009 to the end of February 2011, the VRG reviewed 111 threats and vulnerabilities (T&V) reported through ETHiR. In July 2010 a decision support system (DSS) based on multi-criteria-decision-analysis (MCDA) improved ETHiR to allow the systematic prioritisation of emerging T&V. The DSS allows the regular ranking of emerging T&V by calculating a set of measurement indices related to the actual impact, possible impact on public perception and level of available capabilities associated with every T&V. The systematic characterisation of the processes leading to the assessment of T&V by the VRG has led to a consistent, auditable and transparent approach to the identification and assessment of emerging risks. The regular use of MCDA to manage a portfolio of emerging risks represents a different and novel application of MCDA in a health related context. © 2012.


Jeffrey M.,Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency | McGovern G.,Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency | Chambers E.V.,Roslin Institute | King D.,Roslin Institute | And 7 more authors.
Brain Pathology | Year: 2012

Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker (GSS) P102L disease is a familial form of a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) that can present with or without vacuolation of neuropil. Inefficient disease transmission into 101LL transgenic mice was previously observed from GSS P102L without vacuolation. However, several aged, healthy mice had large plaques composed of abnormal prion protein (PrP d). Here we perform the ultrastructural characterization of such plaques and compare them with PrP d aggregates found in TSE caused by an infectious mechanism. PrP d plaques in 101LL mice varied in maturity, with some being composed of deposits without visible amyloid fibrils. PrP d was present on cell membranes in the vicinity of all types of plaques. In contrast to the unicentric plaques seen in infectious murine scrapie, the plaques seen in the current model were multicentric and were initiated by protofibrillar forms of PrP d situated on oligodendroglia, astrocytes and neuritic cell membranes. We speculate that the initial conversion process leading to plaque formation begins with membrane-bound PrP C but that subsequent fibrillization does not require membrane attachment. We also observed that the membrane alterations consistently seen in murine scrapie and other infectious TSEs were not present in 101LL mice with plaques, suggesting differences in the pathogenesis of these conditions. © 2011 The Authors and Crown copyright (AHVLA); Brain Pathology © 2011 International Society of Neuropathology.


Nelson M.,UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory | Nelson M.,University of Surrey | Salguero F.J.,Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency | Dean R.E.,UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Experimental Pathology | Year: 2014

Glanders and melioidosis are caused by two distinct Burkholderia species and have generally been considered to have similar disease progression. While both of these pathogens are HHS/CDC Tier 1 agents, natural infection with both these pathogens is primarily through skin inoculation. The common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) was used to compare disease following experimental subcutaneous challenge. Acute, lethal disease was observed in marmosets following challenge with between 26 and 1.2 × 108 cfu Burkholderia pseudomallei within 22-85 h. The reproducibility and progression of the disease were assessed following a challenge of 1 × 102 cfu of B. pseudomallei. Melioidosis was characterised by high levels of bacteraemia, focal microgranuloma progressing to non-necrotic multifocal solid lesions in the livers and spleens and multi-organ failure. Lethal disease was observed in 93% of animals challenged with Burkholderia mallei, occurring between 5 and 10.6 days. Following challenge with 1 × 102 cfu of B. mallei, glanders was characterised with lymphatic spread of the bacteria and non-necrotic, multifocal solid lesions progressing to a multifocal lesion with severe necrosis and pneumonia. The experimental results confirmed that the disease pathology and presentation is strikingly different between the two pathogens. The marmoset provides a model of the human syndrome for both diseases facilitating the development of medical countermeasures. © 2014 Company of the International Journal of Experimental Pathology (CIJEP).


PubMed | Complutense University of Madrid, Economics and Public Health Group, Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency, FLI Institute of Epidemiology and National Veterinary Institute
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Epidemiology and infection | Year: 2015

In this globalized world, the spread of new, exotic and re-emerging diseases has become one of the most important threats to animal production and public health. This systematic review analyses conventional and novel early detection methods applied to surveillance. In all, 125 scientific documents were considered for this study. Exotic (n = 49) and re-emerging (n = 27) diseases constituted the most frequently represented health threats. In addition, the majority of studies were related to zoonoses (n = 66). The approaches found in the review could be divided in surveillance modalities, both active (n = 23) and passive (n = 5); and tools and methodologies that support surveillance activities (n = 57). Combinations of surveillance modalities and tools (n = 40) were also found. Risk-based approaches were very common (n = 60), especially in the papers describing tools and methodologies (n = 50). The main applications, benefits and limitations of each approach were extracted from the papers. This information will be very useful for informing the development of tools to facilitate the design of cost-effective surveillance strategies. Thus, the current literature review provides key information about the advantages, disadvantages, limitations and potential application of methodologies for the early detection of new, exotic and re-emerging diseases.


Mill A.C.,Northumbria University | Rushton S.P.,Northumbria University | Shirley M.D.F.,Northumbria University | Smith G.C.,Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2014

Summary: American foulbrood (AFB), caused by Paenibacillus larvae, is the most damaging bacterial brood disease of the honeybee (Apis mellifera), causing colony deaths on all continents where honeybees are managed. AFB has been a persistent problem in the UK for over 70 years, with a fluctuating number of cases discovered annually. Once diseased colonies are identified, they are destroyed to reduce pathogen spread. We investigated the pattern of AFB cases recorded over the period 1994 to 2012 using spatial-statistical approaches, with a view to identifying the nature of spread across England and Wales. Our results indicated that AFB exhibits significant spatial aggregation at distances from 10 to 30km, with aggregations lasting between 1 and 5 years. Kernel smoothing indicated areas of elevated relative risk in different years, and these were further detailed by spatial-scan statistics. We identified disease clusters and successfully estimated their size, location and duration. The majority of clusters did not persist in all years, indicating that management measures may lead to localized extinction of the disease. Whilst less common, persistent clusters likely indicate potential endemic or exotic risk points. The application of robust epidemiological approaches to improve the control of AFB is discussed. © 2013 Crown copyright. Environmental Microbiology published by Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Smither S.J.,UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory | Nelson M.,UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory | Eastaugh L.,UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory | Laws T.R.,UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Experimental Pathology | Year: 2013

Marburg virus causes a highly infectious and lethal haemorrhagic fever in primates and may be exploited as a potential biothreat pathogen. To combat the infection and threat of Marburg haemorrhagic fever, there is a need to develop and license appropriate medical countermeasures. To determine whether the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) would be an appropriate model to assess therapies against Marburg haemorrhagic fever, initial susceptibility, lethality and pathogenesis studies were performed. Low doses of virus, between 4 and 28 TCID50, were sufficient to cause a lethal, reproducible infection. Animals became febrile between days 5 and 6, maintaining a high fever before succumbing to disease between 8 and 11 days postchallenge. Typical signs of Marburg virus infection were observed including haemorrhaging and a transient rash. In pathogenesis studies, virus was isolated from the animals' lungs from day 3 postchallenge and from the liver, spleen and blood from day 5 postchallenge. Early signs of histopathology were apparent in the kidney and liver from day 3. The most striking features were observed in animals exhibiting severe clinical signs, which included high viral titres in all organs, with the highest levels in the blood, increased levels in liver function enzymes and blood clotting times, decreased levels in platelets, multifocal moderate-to-severe hepatitis and perivascular oedema. © 2013 Crown copyright. International Journal of Experimental Pathology © 2013 International Journal of Experimental Pathology.


Javed M.A.,Nottingham Trent University | Javed M.A.,University of Alberta | Cawthraw S.A.,Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency | Baig A.,Nottingham Trent University | And 5 more authors.
Infection and Immunity | Year: 2012

Campylobacter jejuni is a major cause of bacterial food-borne enteritis worldwide, and invasion into intestinal epithelial cells is an important virulence mechanism. Recently we reported the identification of hyperinvasive C. jejuni strains and created a number of transposon mutants of one of these strains, some of which exhibited reduced invasion into INT-407 and Caco-2 cells. In one such mutant the transposon had inserted into a homologue of cj1136, which encodes a putative galactosyltransferase according to the annotation of the C. jejuni NCTC11168 genome. In the current study, we investigated the role of cj1136 in C. jejuni virulence, lipooligosaccharide (LOS) biosynthesis, and host colonization by targeted mutagenesis and complementation of the mutation. The cj1136 mutant showed a significant reduction in invasion into human intestinal epithelial cells compared to the wild-type strain 01/51. Invasion levels were partially restored on complementing the mutation. The inactivation of cj1136 resulted in the production of truncated LOS, while biosynthesis of a full-length LOS molecule was restored in the complemented strain. The cj1136 mutant showed an increase in sensitivity to the bile salts sodium taurocholate and sodium deoxycholate and significantly increased sensitivity to polymyxin B compared to the parental strain. Importantly, the ability of the mutant to colonize 1-day-old chicks was also significantly impaired. This study confirms that a putative galactosyltransferase encoded by cj1136 is involved in LOS biosynthesis and is important for C. jejuni virulence, as disruption of this gene and the resultant truncation of LOS affect both colonization in vivo and invasiveness in vitro. © 2012, American Society for Microbiology.


PubMed | Animal Health & Veterinary Laboratories Agency
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of virology | Year: 2012

Lyssaviruses (family Rhabdoviridae) constitute one of the most important groups of viral zoonoses globally. All lyssaviruses cause the disease rabies, an acute progressive encephalitis for which, once symptoms occur, there is no effective cure. Currently available vaccines are highly protective against the predominantly circulating lyssavirus species. Using next-generation sequencing technologies, we have obtained the whole-genome sequence for a novel lyssavirus, Ikoma lyssavirus (IKOV), isolated from an African civet in Tanzania displaying clinical signs of rabies. Genetically, this virus is the most divergent within the genus Lyssavirus. Characterization of the genome will help to improve our understanding of lyssavirus diversity and enable investigation into vaccine-induced immunity and protection.


PubMed | Animal Health & Veterinary Laboratories Agency
Type: Comment | Journal: mBio | Year: 2014

The potentially debilitating zoonotic disease brucellosis is thought to have been a scourge of mankind throughout history. New work by Kay et al. [mBio 5(4):e01337-14, 2014] adds to evidence for this by exploiting the huge advances in next-generation sequencing technology and applying shotgun metagenomics to a calcified nodule obtained from a 14th-century skeleton from Sardinia. While not the first DNA-based confirmation of Brucella in medieval DNA samples, Kay et al.s study goes much further than previous reports based on single gene fragments in that it allows a full-genome reconstruction and thus facilitates meaningful comparative analysis of relationships with extant Brucella strains. These analyses confirm the close relationship of the genome to contemporary isolates from the western Mediterranean, illustrating the continuity of this lineage in the region over centuries. The study, along with recent studies characterizing other ancient-pathogen genomes, confirms that shotgun metagenomics offers us a powerful tool to fully characterize pathogens from ancient samples. Such studies promise to revolutionize our understanding of the nature of infectious disease in these materials and of the wider picture of the emergence, evolution, and spread of bacterial pathogens over history.


PubMed | Animal Health & Veterinary Laboratories Agency
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Antiviral research | Year: 2013

Dogs are the source of more than 99% of human rabies virus infections in endemic regions. Without postexposure prophylaxis, almost all cases are fatal, making rabies the most lethal infectious disease. Tens of thousands of deaths are reported annually, but the official figures are believed to be gross underestimates. Controlling canine rabies, especially in free-ranging dogs, is the first priority to reduce the burden of human disease. Because of their limited medical infrastructure, most endemic countries lack the laboratory facilities needed to diagnose human cases of viral encephalitis. Moreover, the veterinary sectors are often unable to undertake systematic surveillance and reporting of rabies in animals. Without an adequate and functioning risk assessment system that is primed for use, rabies will remain a neglected and omnipresent disease, especially in poverty-stricken regions of the world. Fortunately, experience with the elimination of canine rabies from many industrialized countries has shown that these barriers are not insurmountable. Successful rabies prevention and control strategies that prove the absence of the disease depend on laboratory-based surveillance, rapid data reporting and an adequate system of risk assessment. Future control and prevention programmes should therefore coordinate the development of these key factors, creating synergies to eliminate rabies at its animal source. This article forms part of a symposium in Antiviral Research on the global elimination of canine rabies.

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