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Endemic infectious disease in British cattle

Aim:

To describe the endemic status and transmission dynamics of each infection separately and simultaneously. The results will be used to propose more efficient control strategies to minimise the impact of endemic disease on the health and production of cattle.

Project background:

Endemic diseases of cattle impose a considerable burden on production and welfare. This study considers five infections endemic to cattle in UK:

114 farmers in SW England agreed to participate in the study. We visited each farm on a minimum of three occasions over three years. We took a serum sample from each accessible adult (>2years) that was expected to be on the farm within one year – this equates, essentially, to breeding cattle. In addition, some herds were re-visited to confirm persistent infections with BVDV. At these visits, all accessible cattle within the herds were blood sampled (regardless of age).

In total, we blood sampled 15,736 cattle, and obtained 29,782 serum samples from both beef and dairy herds.

The 114 farms were a sub-sample of the 148 farms recruited into a study of bovine TB.

An interview questionnaire with the farmers was used to collect farm management information, including cattle groupings and contacts within the farm and from outside, farm history, disease status and vaccination data. Questionnaires were completed with 110 (/114) of the farmers.

We are using British Cattle Movement Scheme (BCMS) database which provides information on cattle movements between farms to assess cattle movements and risk of exposure to the diseases above.

Consequently, the project consists of a unique, large collection of serum samples tested for five endemic infections together with detailed information on the contact and movement patterns of the cattle bled from the farmer questionnaire and BCMS.

Publications

Descriptive and preliminary findings from the study have also been presented in 4 posters and as an oral presentation:  

  • Poster at the annual meeting of the Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine (SVEPM), Liverpool, UK (March 2008):
    Woodbine, K.A. et al. (2008) Sero-epidemiology of Neospora caninum in 114 cattle herds in SW England. (PDF Document) [View poster]
  • Poster at the annual meeting of the Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine (SVEPM), Liverpool, UK (March 2008):
    Moore, S.J. et al. (2008) Epidemiology of Bovine Herpes Virus Type-1 in England. (PDF Document) [View poster]
  • Poster at the annual meeting of the Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine (SVEPM), Helsinki, Finland (March 2007):
    Woodbine, K.A. et al. (2007) Five endemic pathogens of British cattle. (PDF Document) [View poster]
  • Abstract for an oral presentation at the 61st Annual Conference of the Association for Veterinary Teaching and Research Work, Scarborough, UK (April 2007):
    Woodbine, K.A. et al. (2007) Johne’s disease in England: Initial results of a large scale longitudinal serology based study. (PDF Document) [View abstract]
  • Poster at the annual meeting of the Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine (SVEPM), Nairn, UK (March 2005):
    Hoving, L.L. et al. (2005) Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus seroprevalence and antibody titres in UK cattle farms. (PDF Document)[View poster]

Funded by BBSRC (BBSB04854)

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People involved:
Prof. Graham Medley
Prof Laura Green
Prof. Ynte Schukken
Ana Ramirez Villaescusa
Stephen Moore
Sam Mason
Dr. Kerry Woodbine
Christine Bilbao
Natalie Swann

We are grateful for the cooperation from all participating farmers and veterinarians.

We would also like to thank all project staff that have helped with collecting and analysing serum samples.