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AI developed to detect leptospirosis
"My hope is that this technology will be able to recognize cases of leptospirosis in near real time" - Dr Krystle Reagan.

Scientists at UC Davis created the model for early detection.

Scientists and veterinary surgeons at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) have created an artificial intelligence model for early detection of leptospirosis.

Caused by dogs drinking water contaminated with Leptospira bacteria, leptospirosis ultimately leads to kidney failure, liver disease and severe bleeding in the lungs. Early detection of the disease is vital to give dogs the greatest chance of survival and recovery. 

Explaining the need for a better detection method, lead author Dr Krystle Reagan said: “Traditional testing for Leptospira lacks sensitivity early in the disease process.

“Detection also can take more than two weeks because of the need to demonstrate a rise in the level of antibodies in a blood sample. 

“Our AI model eliminates those two roadblocks to a swift and accurate diagnosis.”

Researcher used historical data of patients at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital that had been tested for leptospirosis. Routinely collected blood samples from 413 dogs was used to train the AI prediction model. 

Of the 53 dogs brought in for suspected leptospirosis over the next year, the AI model correctly identified all nine dogs that were positive for leptospirosis. Of the 44 leptospirosis negative dogs, the AI model correctly identified 90 per cent. 

Dr Reagan commented: “My hope is this technology will be able to recognize cases of leptospirosis in near real time, giving clinicians and owners important information about the disease process and prognosis.

“As we move forward, we hope to apply AI methods to improve our ability to quickly diagnose other types of infections.”

As a zoonotic disease, leptospirosis can transfer from animals to humans, and is difficult to diagnose in humans. The researcher hope that the developed technology will be able to be used in human medicine.

The research for this project has been published in the Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation.

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Avian flu outbreak at RSPB Minsmere

News Story 1
 RSPB Minsmere nature reserve in Suffolk has confirmed an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza on its site. The coastal nature reserve has seen an increase in dead birds recently, and has said that it is 'extremely concerned' about the potential impacts on bird populations, with 2021 and 2022 seeing the largest ever outbreak in the UK.

In a statement, RSPB said: "We appreciate that it is distressing, for both visitors and staff, to see dead or dying birds at our site but we ask that if visitors see any dead or unwell birds, they do not touch or go near them and that they report it to us at our Visitor Centre during its opening hours, or by emailing us on minsmere@rspb.org.uk outside of these times."  

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Moredun Foundation Award opens for applications

The 2022-2023 Moredun Foundation Award (MFA) is now open for members, with up to £2,000 available for successful applicants.

The MFA honours the contribution that education, teamwork, life experience, and travel have made to the understanding of cattle health and welfare. Through its charitable endeavours, Moredun offers its members the opportunity to pursue projects that support personal development.

The prize is open to a wide range of project applications, including those that include producing educational tools, conducting a small research project, or studying farming methods in other nations. For more information and to apply, visit moredun.org.uk