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Editorial
Psoroptic mange in cattle and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
  1. Richard Wall, BSc, MBA, PhD, FRES
  1. Veterinary Parasitology and Ecology Group, School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1UG, UK
  1. e-mail: richard.wall{at}bristol.ac.uk

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THE first two ghosts that visit Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve in Charles Dickens' novel ‘A Christmas Carol’ tell him about his past mistakes, the current suffering for which he is responsible, and, finally, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come gives him a warning of the consequences of failing to change his ways. Unfortunately, in real life, spotting past errors and forecasting the future consequences of our current behaviour is usually more difficult and, because the proxy ghosts don't usually moan and rattle chains, they are rather less easy to spot. Nevertheless, the consequences of ignoring their message may be calamitous, as they would have been for Scrooge.

Cattle psoroptic mange, caused by an infestation by Psoroptes mites, was first detected in Wales in 2007 in Pembrokeshire, probably imported on infected stock (Jones and others 2008). Psoroptic mange is an important traumatic disease in cattle in parts of continental Europe, particularly affecting the Belgian Blue breed, resulting in severe irritation and scratching, hair loss, skin damage and weight loss; eventually, if untreated, it may result in death from various secondary causes such as dehydration or bacterial septicaemia.

Following introduction to the UK, the mites have spread …

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