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Novel viruses carried by Scottish midge
There are at least 41 different species of biting midge described in the UK, of which 37 are present in Scotland.

Biting midge population carries previously-unknown viruses

According to new research, published in Viruses, scientists at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research have used high-throughput sequencing to study, for the first time, to determine the total collection of viruses in the biting midge, Culicoides impunctatus.
 
The scientists discovered several new viruses in the ‘virome’ of the midge, including an alphanodavirus, two rhabdo-like viruses and a chuvirus. These viruses are mainly found in insects and other invertebrates, but some members of the alphanodaviruses naturally infect pigs and herons, sometimes causing death.
 
The newly-identified viruses were found to be sufficiently different from known species to be categorised as novel. However, there is currently no evidence that these viruses pose a threat to humans. 
 
Despite their prevalence in Scotland, midges – small biting flies that are a predominantly a nuisance to humans – are currently understudied. Yet midges are carriers of arboviruses (viral infections transmitted to humans from a group of insects) and were responsible for the emergence and spread of Schmallenberg virus in Europe in 2011, and are likely to be involved in the emergence of other arboviruses in Europe.
 
There are at least 41 different species of biting midge described in the UK, of which 37 are present in Scotland.

Viral metagenomics, the name of the technique used to identify the midge viruses, has been widely presented and accepted within the scientific community as one of the most unbiased methods for the characterisation of viral sequences.
 
The midges studied were collected at the University of Glasgow’s Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment, located within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park; and the study was funded by the Medical Research Council.

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Do you know a practice wellbeing star?

News Story 1
 Has someone in your practice team gone above and beyond to make your workplace a positive one during the coronavirus pandemic? Then why not nominate them for a 2020 Practice Wellbeing Star!

The joint RCVS Mind Matters Initiative/SPVS Practice Wellbeing Star nominations recognise individuals who have held up morale during a time when practices are facing unprecedented staffing and financial issues.

Nominees receive a certificate in recognition of their colleagues' appreciation of their achievements and will be entered into the prize draw for a pair of tickets to attend the joint SPVS and Veterinary Management Group Congress in January 2021.

 

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WellVet reopens ticket sales to online conference platform

Following the success of its online conference, the organisers behind WellVet Weekend have re-opened ticket sales to allow new delegates to access session recordings and its online networking platform.

The day-long conference saw more than 360 veterinary professionals mix activity sessions with personal development CPD, all hosted within a virtual conference platform. Now, with more than 500 minutes of CPD available, the resource is being re-opened to allow full access to the session recordings until May 2021.

Sessions are aimed at providing delegates with a range of proactive wellbeing tools to explore to find ways of improving their mental and physical health. Tickets are limited in number and on sale at wellvet.co.uk until 30th August 2020.