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What really causes footrot in sheep: a national cohort study of the serological diversity of Dichelobacter nodosus in sheep in sickness and in health

Footrot affects sheep in over 90% of farms and makes up ⅔ of foot lesions in the UK. There have been recent improvements in management and control however it is still a common disease. Footrot is caused by Dichelobacter nodosus and there are ten serogroups of the bacterium. Vaccination only protects against the serogroups it contains, but whilst the current commercial vaccine contains nine of the serogroups, it varies in its efficacy of protection for each flock. This could be due to antigenic competition; it is common that vaccines targeting more strains initiate a lower antibody response to each strain and for a shorter duration of time than those that target fewer strains.

My PhD aims to determine whether:

  • a vaccine with fewer serogroups may offer better protection against footrot in England
  • there are any differences in serogroup diversity and vaccination uptake in different regions
  • vaccination has an impact on serological diversity

To achieve this I have sourced questionnaires and interdigital swabs from flocks distributed across England. I am using the DNA I extract from the swabs to identify the load of D. nodosus and the serogroups present. I am also using statistical modelling to analyse the laboratory results and questionnaire responses.

This research is funded by

BBSRCAHDB Beef & Lamb

Conferences

Modelling in Animal Health (ModAH) 2017: A national cohort study of the serological diversity of Dichelobacter nodosus in sheep. Prosser, N.S., Purdy, K.J., Green, L.E. (Poster presentation)

University of Warwick School of Life Sciences Postgraduate Symposium 2017: A national cohort study of the serological diversity of Dichelobacter nodosus in sheep. Prosser, N.S., Purdy, K.J., Green, L.E. (Poster presentation)

AHDB Livestock PhD Seminar 2016: A national cohort study of the microbial diversity of Dichelobacter nodosus in sheep. Prosser, N.S., Purdy, K.J., Green, L.E. (Poster presentation)

KTN/AHDB Early Career Researchers Day for Agriculture 2016: A national cohort study of the microbial diversity of Dichelobacter nodosus in sheep. Prosser, N.S., Purdy, K.J., Green, L.E. (Poster presentation)

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Naomi Prosser
Postgraduate Research Student
School of Life Sciences
University of Warwick
Coventry
CV4 7AL
 
 
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