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New test for early TB identification in zoo animals
The Actiphage test offers a new way to detect and manage bTB in zoo animals and wildlife.
Actiphage method detects mycobacteria before clinical symptoms emerge

A new test that can deliver early TB identification in exotics is being discussed at the British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS) Congress in Birmingham today (9 November).

The Actiphage test, to be outlined by RVC research fellow Dr Ben Swift, offers a new way to detect and manage bTB in zoo animals and wildlife.

Developed by PBD Biotech, the test can identify bTB and other mycobacterial diseases in animals before clinical symptoms emerge. In comparison to culturing mycobacteria, which can take up to 12 weeks, the test can identify the presence of any mycobacteria in animal blood in as little as six hours.

So far, the technology has been successfully applied to blood samples from 17 different species, including deer, goats and badgers as well as exotic animals such as lions, giraffes and camels. Trials have confirmed PBD Biotech’s assay can detect live mycobacteria in blood or milk samples at very high sensitivity, of less than 10 mycobacterial cells per ml of sample.

“The Actiphage detection method provides a major step change in the detection of viable mycobacteria and has the potential to revolutionise the control and understanding of mycobacterial diseases in zoo animals, wildlife and a range of other species,” explained Dr Swift.
 
“The use of bacteriophage means the test can detect mycobacteria before an immune response is fully developed, giving vets, zoo-keepers and other exotics experts a head-start on the race to catch bTB and other diseases in the hope of preventing the unnecessary cull of protected animals.”

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New road sign to protect small wildlife

News Story 1
 Transport secretary Chris Grayling has unveiled a new road sign to help cut traffic accidents and protect small wildlife, particularly hedgehogs.

Local authorities and animal welfare groups are being asked to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign - which features a hedgehog - should be located.

Government figures show that more than 600 people were injured in road accidents involving animals in 2017, and four people were killed. These figures do not include accidents involving horses. The new sign will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.  

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NOAH members re-elect Jamie Brannan as chair

Jamie Brannan, senior Vice President of Zoetis, has been re-elected as chair of NOAH for 2019/20, during this year’s AGM, held in London.

Mr Brannan joined Zoetis and the NOAH board in 2016, becoming NOAH’s vice-chair in 2018 and replacing Gaynor Hillier as chair later that year.

He commented: “I am extremely pleased to have been elected by the NOAH membership and am proud to be able to represent our industry at such a critical time for the UK animal health industry. I look forward to driving forward our new NOAH Strategy and to working with our members, old and new, in the coming year.”