Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bluetongue disease a growing threat

03.02.2004


Research into the reasons for the recent world-wide spread of the devastating animal disease, bluetongue, could have major implications for the long-term future of Australia’s sheep industry.



According to a senior epidemiologist at CSIRO Livestock Industries’ Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong, Dr Peter Daniels, bluetongue disease is spreading rapidly in Europe and new strains of bluetongue virus have been detected in Australia.

"While Australian sheep are currently free of bluetongue we must learn more about how the virus spreads so we can ensure that the national flock remains free of this destructive disease," Dr Daniels says.


Sheep infected with bluetongue develop a high fever and swelling and/or lesions around the face and feet. Lesions can also develop in the animal’s mouth and, in severe cases, sheep die within two weeks of being infected.

Bluetongue infections are common in sheep, cattle and other ruminants in tropical and subtropical areas around the world but recently began to spread to previously unaffected regions.

"Bluetongue has turned up in parts of Europe where it was previously unknown," Dr Daniels says. "This emergence seems to be linked to global warming which may enable the virus’ insect carriers to survive where they previously could not."

In Australia, the disease does not occur in commercial sheep flocks. The insects that spread the virus do not occur in the same areas as the major sheep populations and strains of bluetongue virus are non-virulent (non disease-causing).

However, bluetongue is spreading in Australia, moving south of the Kimberley into the Pilbara. In recent years, three new South East Asian strains of the virus have entered the Northern Territory, but these have not spread beyond the Top End.

"The reasons for the spread are complex, but partly relate to changing patterns of land use, with cattle replacing sheep in some areas. Some of the insects that spread bluetongue feed more readily on cattle than sheep," Dr Daniels says.

The disease movements were detected by the National Arbovirus Monitoring Program (NAMP), managed by Animal Health Australia. Disease information is collected by monitoring young cattle in sentinel herds throughout the country. AAHL acts as a reference laboratory for the program.

Dr Daniels says scientists want to understand whether the spread of virulent bluetongue viruses in Australia is only a matter of time, or whether the Top End of the Northern Territory is a separate ecosystem for bluetongue viruses, with different characteristics that would operate to contain the spread of more virulent strains.

"Such an ecosystem would depend on the relationships between the viral strains and insect carriers present as well as the habitat requirements of those insect carriers," he says.

"If the virulence of the viruses is discovered to be linked to the species of insect by which it is spread, surveillance programs could be fine-tuned and the risk of severe bluetongue disease in Australia more accurately assessed."

More information:
Dr Peter Daniels, CSIRO Livestock Industries, 03 5227 5272

Media assistance:
Emma Homes, CSIRO Livestock Industries 03 5227 5123

Bill Stephens | CSIRO
Further information:
http://www.csiro.au/index.asp?type=mediaRelease&id=prbluetongue

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Six-legged livestock -- sustainable food production
11.05.2017 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

nachricht Elephant Herpes: Super-Shedders Endanger Young Animals
04.05.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>