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New strain of canine distemper found in the US
The distinct virus strain was detected over a one-year period in eight animals.

Strain is “significantly distinct” from vaccines, scientists say 

A new strain of canine distemper virus has been found in wild animals in New Hampshire and Vermont, scientists have revealed.

The distinct virus strain was detected over a one-year period in eight animals, including three fishers, two gray foxes, one skunk, one raccoon and one mink.

All eight were infected with a strain that has only been seen in a single raccoon in Rhode Island in 2004. It had not previously been described in any publication.

Senior veterinary pathologist David Needle, of the University of New Hampshire, said this strain is “significantly distinct” from vaccine strains. The findings have been reported in the Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation.

Professor Needle added: “This can and may already be having an impact on the population of wild mesocarnivores in New Hampshire and New England.

“These animals are an integral part of the varied ecosystems of wild New Hampshire and New England, filling important niches in predator-prey relationships and pest control. Any decrease in wildlife populations is a loss to the rich wild diversity.”

Image © California Department of Water Resources/Wikimedia Commons

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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.”