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Novel technique to identify foot-and-mouth disease
The method takes samples from areas that animals who are susceptible to FMD make contact with.
Simple swabbing method can be taken without prior expertise

A novel sampling method that can detect the presence of foot-and-mouth-disease in the absence of clinical signs has been developed by The Pirbright Institute.

The method uses a simple swabbing technique to collect samples from areas that animals make contact with, such as water troughs. Researchers say the technique requires very little expertise, making it much more accessible and, during an outbreak, allows for more samples to be collected and processed.

“Current surveillance methods rely on the recognition of FMD infection in susceptible animals in addition to the collection of samples from the animals which requires veterinary expertise,” explained study leader Dr Claire Colenutt. “In keeping the approach simple, samples can be taken by individuals without prior expertise, increasing the number of potential samples, and relieving pressure on veterinary services.”

FMD virus can survive up to three months in the environment given the right conditions. Therefore, sampling areas where infected animals might have shed allows scientists to detect the presence of FMD, even if the animals are no longer displaying clinical signs.

In a press release, the Pirbright Institute said the method will allow FMD surveillance 'to go beyond the investigation of clinical signs, meaning that cases which may have been missed can be identified using environmental sampling methods'.

It also said this is equally important in areas that have FMD free status as well as those where FMD is endemic such as parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

‘Novel surveillance techniques can help support a robust response to outbreaks in FMD free countries, but can also be implemented in endemic countries as part of surveillance programs to supplement current information about the spread of FMD,’ the press release said.

The study, Evaluation of environmental sampling as a low technology method for surveillance of Foot-and-mouth disease virus in an endemic area, is published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology

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Amur leopard cubs caught on camera

News Story 1
 A pair of Amur leopards have been captured on camera for the first time since their birth. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland announced the birth in July, but with human presence being kept to a minimum, it was not known how many cubs had been born.

Motion sensitive cameras have now revealed that two cubs emerged from the den - at least one of which may be released into the wild in Russia within the next two or three years. The Amur leopard habitat is not open to the public, to help ensure the cubs retain their wild instincts and behaviour. Image © RZSS 

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News Shorts
New canine and feline dentistry manual announced

A new canine and feline dentistry and oral surgery manual has been published by the BSAVA. Announcing the news on its website, the BSAVA said this latest edition contains new step-by-step operative techniques, together with full-colour illustrations and photographs.

‘This is a timely publication; veterinary dentistry is a field that continues to grow in importance for the general veterinary practitioner,’ the BSAVA said. ‘The manual has been fully revised and updated to include the most relevant, evidence-based techniques.’

The BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Dentistry and Oral Surgery, 4th edition is available to purchase from