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 New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht New rice fights off drought
04.04.2017 | RIKEN

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: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>