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Seroprevalence and spatial distribution of Fasciola hepatica-infected dairy herds in England and Wales
  1. C. M. McCann, BVSc, MSc, MSc, MRCVS1,
  2. M. Baylis, BA, DPhil2 and
  3. D. J. L. Williams, BSc, PhD1
  1. 1Veterinary Parasitology, Infection Biology Group, Department of Comparative Molecular Medicine, School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZJ
  2. 2Liverpool University Climate and Infectious Diseases of Animals (LUCINDA) Group, School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Neston, Cheshire CH64 7TE
  1. E-mail for correspondence: mccann{at}liverpool.ac.uk

Abstract

The seroprevalence of Fasciola hepatica infection in a population of commercial dairy herds in England and Wales was estimated using an ELISA that detected antibodies to F hepatica in bulk tank milk. A total of 3130 milk samples, obtained as convenience samples from two commercial milk-testing laboratories, were tested during the winter of 2006/07. Herds considered to be seropositive were categorised as low positive, medium positive or high positive. A geospatial map was drawn to show the distribution of infected herds and the seroprevalence of exposure at regional level, using the Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics boundaries, and at a finer spatial level defined by postcode area. Overall, 76 per cent (95 per cent confidence interval [CI] 74 to 77 per cent) of herds carried antibodies to F hepatica; the seroprevalence in England was 72 per cent (95 per cent CI 70 to 74 per cent) and in Wales it was 84 per cent (95 per cent CI 82 to 86 per cent). The highest prevalences of exposure were found in north-west England, where more than 47 per cent of herds were in the high positive exposure category.

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