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BTV-8 re-emerging in northern Europe, APHA warns
Owing to the weaker pathogenicity of the re-emerging strain, there may be fewer clinical signs than the 2007 strain.
Weaker pathogenicity means clinical signs may be fewer 

Vets are being reminded of the risk of bluetongue virus, as serotype 8 re-emerges in northern Europe.

According to an APHA briefing, there have been reports from France of calves being born small and blind, dying at just a few days old, since mid-December 2018. There has been a considerable increase in reports since January this year.

The affected animals have been positive by PCR on blood and spleen for BTV-8. APHA said the detection of BTV-8 in calves of around a week old, during the culicoides vector-free period, suggests transplacental infection.

Since the first reports of cases, 418 samples have tested positive for BTV-8 by PCR, with between two and 15 per cent of newborn calves affected on some farms.

Further studies using experimental midge infection suggest that the current BTV-8 strain in France has a reduced culicoides vector competence.

Official veterinarians are being urged to consider BTV-8 as a possible cause of malformed calves or abortion, and to be aware that the re-emerging strain in northern Europe could cause transplacental transmission and infection of foetuses in cattle.

Owing to the weaker pathogenicity of the re-emerging strain, there may be fewer clinical signs than the 2007 strain, so APHA says an increase in awareness is important.

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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.”