Although bluetongue has not been recorded in the UK, the last eight years have seen it spread throughout much of southern and eastern Europe and climate change is allowing it to extend into more northerly areas than ever before. Recent outbreaks have seen the virus that causes bluetongue being carried by different species of midge which are known to be prevalent in the UK. Researchers funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Defra are calling for farmers to let them set up light traps to run overnight on agricultural land around the country. The biting midges caught in the traps can then be analysed to identify their species and to determine their capacity to spread bluetongue virus.
Dr Simon Carpenter from the BBSRC-sponsored Institute for Animal Health (IAH), explained: “We want to better understand both the distribution of biting midges and their seasonal abundance. Using light traps to understand where the hotspots of midge activity are, and combining this with information from weather satellites and climate change models, we will be able to predict the areas of the UK and times of year most at threat from bluetongue if it does arrive here.”
Bluetongue is caused by a virus that can reproduce in all species of ruminant. This means that animals unaffected by the disease, such as cattle, can be covert carriers of the virus, infecting more livestock. In its severe form bluetongue most often affects sheep and some species of deer and can result in respiratory problems, swelling, fever and death. The research team at IAH are world leaders in understanding bluetongue and were the first to highlight its recent spread into southern Europe.
Temperature and rainfall are key variables in the ability of the carrier midges to breed and spread the virus. Below about 8-10 degrees Celsius development of adult midges is inhibited but on warm summer nights (18-29 degrees Celsius) the midges are much more active. Studies have even found the virus can lay dormant for up to a month in midges when the temperature falls below 10 degrees Celsius, becoming active when temperatures rise. If winters become shorter with global warming the midges and hence the virus may not be killed off. Midges require semi-aquatic breeding sites so rainfall is important in understanding disease transmission.
The team want to use the data gathered from farms as the first step to advising livestock farmers on the most effective preventative methods. Professor Philip Mellor, also from IAH, said: “If we can establish when during summer and autumn and under what weather conditions midge populations are best able to spread bluetongue virus we can use satellite images to predict which farms are most at risk and when they are most at risk. We are also analysing how insecticide usage or changing the management of livestock could help to prevent the spread of the virus by preventing animals being bitten by midges in the field.”
Matt Goode | alfa
Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München
Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences