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H. lusitanicum tick imported into UK on a dog
puppy in a cage
A Hyalomma lusitanicum tick has been imported into the UK on a dog that had recently returned from Portugal.

Event described as extremely rare

A Hyalomma lusitanicum tick has been imported into the UK on a dog that had recently returned from Portugal and submitted to Public Health England’s Tick Surveillance Scheme (TSS).

The discovery was reported in Veterinary Record (Vol 179 - No 16) by Public Health England and the Instituto Nacional de Saúde Dr Ricardo Jorge.

It is the first known record of H. lusitanicum in the UK and the second Hyalomma species detected by the TSS. In 2009, a single Hyalomma marginatum male was imported into the UK on a horse that was also from Portugal.

‘This importation event provides evidence of the potential for movement of Hyalomma species from endemic areas into the UK via dogs, a route that has not been considered previously,’ the authors write.

‘The absence of published reports of this tick species feeding on dogs in endemic areas and the lack of evidence of this species on recently travelled dogs in the UK based on TSS and Big Tick Project data suggests this is an extremely rare importation event.’

H. lusitanicum ticks are common in Southern Europe where conditions are warm and dry. While they are mostly associated with domestic and wild ungulates, reports show they have also bitten dogs and humans.

H. lusitanicum is an important vector of Theileria annualata - a major cause of livestock disease -  and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) - a disease that can be fatal in humans.

In September 2016, health authorities in Spain reported two confirmed cases of CCHFV - the first instance of local transmission of CCFH in Europe. The primary case - a 62 year-old-man - died in hospital in Madrid. He had no history of travel, but noticed a tick bite after a country walk in Avila, Castilla-León.

Due to the significance of CCHFV, Public Health England tested the tick that was imported into the UK, but no CCHFV RNA was detected. 

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Rare chimp birth announced at Edinburgh Zoo

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) welcomed the birth of a critically endangered western chimpanzee on Monday 3 February at Edinburgh Zoo's Budongo Trail.

The baby girl will be named in the coming days through a public vote, and staff will carry out a paternity test during its first health check to determine the father.

Mother Heleen's first infant, Velu, was born in 2014, making this new baby only the second chimpanzee born in Scotland for more than 20 years.

Budongo Trail team leader Donald Gow said: "While we celebrate every birth, this one is particularly special because our new arrival is a critically endangered Western chimpanzee, a rare subspecies of chimpanzee."

Image (c) RZSS/Donald Gow. 

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News Shorts
BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.