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Study finds link between rising sika deer populations and bovine TB infections in Ireland
"Now, when attempting to manage TB in wildlife, sika deer will need to be considered as well as badgers." Dr David Kelly, first author.

Findings have 'major implications' for the control of TB.

New research from Trinity College Dublin suggests that increasing populations of sika deer in Ireland may be linked to local outbreaks of TB infection in cattle.

The research – published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science – found that, despite a decrease in TB infection rates in recent decades, there is a correlation between rising sika populations and higher local TB infections.

Dr David Kelly, first author of the journal article, said: “Irish farmers have been aware of the effects of bovine TB for well over 70 years. Its incidence has steadily diminished in Ireland, from 3 per cent in 1960 to 0.3 per cent some 50 years later.

“In the mid-1980s it became clear European badgers were a TB wildlife host. Since then, badger populations have been controlled around farms with TB outbreaks whenever those outbreaks cannot be linked to cattle.

“In recent years, however, it has become clear that controlling TB in badger populations cannot rely on culling alone. Along with this change in thinking, there has been a steady shift away from culling and towards badger vaccination.

“Unfortunately, while the management of one TB wildlife host has made great advances, another wildlife TB host has appeared on the radar: deer.”

Studies in Europe and the USA have shown that deer, at higher densities, can sustain TB in their herds. This new research has aligned with these findings, identifying certain populations of sika deer as maintenance hosts of TB in Ireland.

Dr Kelly concluded: “Now, when attempting to manage TB in wildlife, sika deer will need to be considered as well as badgers. Our analyses suggest Sika deer are currently of greatest concern in County Wicklow but if numbers continue to rise in other counties they may also pose problems elsewhere.”

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Webinar to focus on equine worm control

News Story 1
 Vets, veterinary nurses and RAMAs are being invited to join a free CPD webinar on late winter and early spring equine worm control.

Hosted by Zoetis vet Dr Wendy Talbot, the webinar aims to help prescribers understand which parasites are of most concern at this time of year. It will also cover how to assess parasite risk, selecting a suitable wormer and spring wormer plans, concluding with a Q&A session.

The webinar takes place on Thursday, 18 March at 10 am and will be repeated at 7 pm for those unable to listen during the day. To book the 10 am webinar, click here, and to register for the 7 pm webinar, click here

Click here for more...
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.