Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists call on farmers to help prevent spread of severe animal disease

05.04.2006
Scientists studying the potentially devastating animal disease, bluetongue, are calling for the assistance of farmers to help them understand the distribution of the potential carriers, certain species of Culicoides biting midges, across the UK.

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
Further information:
http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/media

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Researchers discover a new link to fight billion-dollar threat to soybean production
14.02.2017 | University of Missouri-Columbia

nachricht Important to maintain a diversity of habitats in the sea
14.02.2017 | University of Gothenburg

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Switched-on DNA

20.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>