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Novel method for less invasive foot-and-mouth testing
Foot-and-mouth disease costs an estimated US $11 billion per year in direct losses and vaccinations.

Study highlights potential of analysing milk from storage tanks

A novel, less-invasive method of carrying out testing for foot-and-mouth-disease virus (FMDV) has been developed by researchers at The Pirbright Institute.

Writing in the journal Veterinary Methodology, researchers describe the technique, which involves using milk from bulk tanks or milk tanks. Their results suggest that testing milk samples could aid disease surveillance before and after disease outbreaks.

Foot-and-mouth disease costs an estimated US $11 billion per year in direct losses and vaccinations. When outbreaks occur in countries that are usually FMDV-free, the impact is particularly devastating.

Control of FDMV is reliant on the rapid and accurate detection of the virus. Current tests often use blood or tissue samples, which can be invasive and require the expertise of an animal health professional.

Researchers say the new method could be applied to disease surveillance in dairy herds, as testing of milk tanker samples could be sensitive enough to identify an infected cow in herds of up to 1000 individuals.

The test produces a result in as little as four hours and can identify the virus up to 28 days after the animal becomes infected - far longer than what is afforded by traditional methods. Researchers say this makes it a promising surveillance tool for use during potential outbreaks in FMDV-free countries.

Sampling from milk storage tanks also eliminates the need to test animals individually and does not require a veterinary surgeon to be called out for sampling. As such, this reduces the cost of testing and prevents animals from getting stressed.

“Milk is already used as a surveillance tool for a number of diseases, such as bovine viral diarrhoea and brucellosis, so it makes sense to investigate this approach for the detection of FMDV,” said Bryony Armson, first author of the research. “We were able to detect virus in milk from FMD infected cows during a real outbreak, and virus could be detected for a longer period in milk than in serum.

“We have also shown this FMD detection method can detect the virus in dilutions equivalent to those that would be present in bulk milk storage, highlighting the potential for milk to be used as a surveillance sample.”

The study was conducted with partners at the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, USA. 

Image (C) The Pirbright Institute

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Registrations open for overseas veterinary professionals course

News Story 1
 Registrations are now open for the RCVS CPD course for overseas veterinary professionals, which covers an introduction to the UK veterinary professions.

The course is aimed at overseas-qualified veterinary surgeons and nurses during their first two years of working in the UK, in addition to those considering working here. It provides graduates with the key information and skills required to practice in the UK, as well as helping them understand their legal duties as veterinary professionals.

For more information and to book your place please click here. The course will be held at Belgravia House, London, on Wednesday 12 June.  

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News Shorts
BVA launches award to celebrate young vets

A new award has been launched to celebrate inspirational young vets who are making a difference in their day to day work.

Nominations are now open for the BVA Young Vet of the Year Award, which is the first of its kind. It is open to all vets registered with the RCVS in the first eight years of their careers, working in any veterinary sphere, including clinical practice, research, education or veterinary politics. Organisers are looking for an ‘exceptional young vet’ whose work has benefitted the veterinary community or the workplace.

The awards are open for self-entry and nominations by 1 August 2019. The winner will be announced at London Vet Show on 14 November 2019, where a £1000 cash prize will be awarded, alongside a ‘career enhancing experience’ with Zoetis.