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Untreated water 'could be source of EHV'
horse drinkng
Horses and other susceptible mammals could be infected by herpesviruses from water bodies, long after the animals that shed the virus have left the area.
Equine herpesvirus remains infectious for three weeks - study

Berlin researchers have discovered that equine herpesvirus (EHV) can remain stable and infectious over a three-week period, challenging the idea that herpesviruses are relatively unstable outside their host.

The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests that untreated water could be a source of infection for some herpesviruses.

Enveloped viruses, such as herpesviruses, cause disease when they spread from host to host via aerosol transmission. However, they are generally thought to be unstable in the environment, requiring rapid, direct transfer in order to survive and remain infectious.

Testing this idea, researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research spiked water with equine herpesviruses under different conditions over a period of three weeks, to examine whether the virus remained infectious.

The team say the virus did remain stable and infectious for up to three weeks, with pH and temperature being the two key factors in determining how long the viruses survived.

Adding soil to the water appeared to 'pull' the virus out of the water, stabilising it in the soil. This suggests viruses may persist for an extended period of time in natural water bodies. In the case of EHV, horses and other susceptible mammals could be infected by herpesviruses from water bodies, long after the animals that shed the virus have left the area.

Viruses such as EHV may therefore become part of the environmental 'virome' and remain infectious, researchers say. Equine herpesviruses have spread among mammals including polar bears and rhinos, without coming into direct contact with horses or their relatives. This has occurred in captivity and in the wild, according to the Leibniz Institute, often resulting in fatalities. Shared water sources could be a source of, and potential vector for, infection.

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Sale of microbeads now banned

News Story 1
 The sale of products containing microbeads is now banned across England and Scotland, Defra has confirmed.

As part of government efforts to prevent these plastics ending up in the marine environment, retailers can no longer sell rinse-off cosmetics and personal care products containing microbeads. These tiny plastics were often added to products including face scrubs, soaps, toothpaste and shower gels.

Just a single shower is thought to send 100,000 of these beads down the drain and into the ocean, where it can cause serious harm to marine life. A ban on manufacturing products containing microbeads previously came into force in January this year. 

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News Shorts
George Eustice announces funding for Bovine Viral Diarrhoea

Farming minister George Eustice has announced a 5.7million funding package to help farmers tackle Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD).

The funding will be available in England for three years through the Rural Development Programme and farmers will be able to apply for one-to-one farm advisory visits by a veterinary practitioner.

The project will recruit local vets who will then work with keepers of breeding cattle to tackle BVD on their farms.