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Study reveals insights into lumpy skin disease
The finding could alter the design of control programmes to reduce lumpy skin disease outbreaks.
Scientists measure risk of different insects transmitting emerging cattle virus.

A landmark study by The Pirbright Institute has measured the risk of different insect species transmitting lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV). 

Lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV) is a severe disease of cattle that is fast emerging into new regions. Recently, the disease spread from Africa and the Middle East into cattle populations in Europe and Asia.

The study, published in the Journal of Virology, reveals that insects are unlikely to get the virus if they bite into infected cattle not showing clinical signs, meaning these animals pose a limited risk of transmitting disease. 

Scientists say the information fills a critical information gap and could alter the design of control programmes to reduce LSDV outbreaks - particularly in low and middle-income countries.

“The data we have compiled provides this vital knowledge which authorities can now use to inform control policies,” explained Dr Pip Beard, head of the Large DNA Viruses group at Pirbright. “In particular, the discovery that preclinical and subclinical animals both pose a very limited risk of spreading disease supports LSD control programmes which target clinically-affected cattle for rapid removal, rather than complete stamping‐out of all cattle in an affected herd.” 

Animals with LSDV typically experience fever, weight loss and large nodules on the skin, but some animals are sub-clinically infected and display no symptoms.

Up to now, it was not clear whether insects feeding on sub-clinical animals were able to contract the virus and spread the disease. This unknown meant that some control programmes had adopted a cautious approach to outbreaks, culling all animals in an affected herd to prevent disease spread.

The study suggests that insects that feed on subclinical animals are 97 per cent less likely to acquire LSDV than those feeding on clinically infected animals. It also found that insects were unable to pick up the virus from cattle in the seven days before clinical signs develop.

Stable flies were the most efficient transmitters of LSDV followed by mosquitoes.

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Budding 'Dr Dolittles' sought for writing competition

News Story 1
 Vets are being invited to enter a writing competition run by the Page Turner Awards for a chance to get their story published or even made into a film.

Dubbed the 'Rolls Royce' of writing awards, the Page Turner competition provides an opportunity for aspiring writers to submit unpublished fiction and non-fiction work to be read by a panel of influential players in the publishing industry.

A spokesperson said: 'Do you think of yourself as a magical healer, like Dr Dolittle. Or maybe you have a story to share about the times when, sadly, animals can't be treated, and pet owners reflect on those moments they took for granted."

For more information, visit 

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News Shorts
Avian influenza confirmed in Lancashire

A case of highly pathogenic (HPAI H5N8) avian influenza has been confirmed in two captive peregrine falcons on a non-commercial, non-poultry premises near Skelmersdale, West Lancashire.

Following a risk assessment, APHA has declared that no disease control zones have been put in place surrounding this non-commercial, non-poultry premises.

Eighteen cases of HPAI H5N8 have now been identified in poultry and other captive birds in England. A housing order for poultry and captive birds introduced by Defra to control the spread of the disease expired on 31 March, although bird keepers in England are still required by law to comply with biosecurity measures.

For more information, please click here.