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New genetic groups of FMDV discovered
Scientists say there could be more novel FMDV genotypes that remain un-sampled and should now be examined to help aid FMD control.
More novel genotypes could exist, Pirbright says

Scientists have discovered two new genetic groups of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV).

There are seven serotypes of FMDV, of which type O, A, SAT 1, SAT 2 and SAT 3 are currently circulating in Africa.

A research team from the Pirbright Institute studied the genetic material of FMDV samples from eastern and southern Africa. They found that while the newly discovered genotypes belong to the SAT serotype, they have distinct genetic traits that are not shared with other SAT viruses.

It is thought that the new virus groups may be representative of viruses that existed before the Great African Rinderpest Pandemic in 1887-1897, which caused a mass die-off of cattle and African buffalo.

This is likely to have caused the extinction of many FMDV strains that were circulating at the time, leaving only small ‘pockets’ of FMDV in isolated buffalo populations.

After the rinderpest pandemic ended, scientists speculate that serotypes O and A were re-introduced into Africa from other continents through livestock imports. Meanwhile SAT serotypes are thought to have re-emerged from the clusters of African buffalo that survived the pandemic.

Novel strains identified in the recent study are believed to contain genetic signatures of the FMD viruses that existed before the pandemic.

According to the research team, the study suggests there could be more novel FMDV genotypes that remain un-sampled and should now be examined to help aid FMD control.

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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”