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Tackling emerging and re-emerging livestock diseases in Europe

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TO be tackled effectively, emerging and re-emerging diseases in livestock need to be identified quickly – but how do you go about finding what is causing disease?

This was the question posed by Martin Beer, of the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI) in Germany, during the plenary session at the annual conference of the Association for Veterinary Teaching and Research Work (AVTRW) held in Nottingham last month.

The clinical signs of different diseases could be very similar, said Professor Beer, so it was vital to take samples to identify the disease and work out if it was an emerging or a re-emerging disease.

The World Organisation for Animal Health's (OIE's) World Animal Health Information Database (WAHID – www.oie.int/wahis_2/public/wahid.php/Wahidhome/Home) was a good place to look to see where disease was occurring and to help identify where the threats of a disease being introduced into Europe lay, he suggested.

Diseases would always move in from other areas as it was impossible to stop, for example, wildlife reservoirs of disease or vectors crossing borders. However, emerging diseases did seem to be on the increase. There seemed to be a number of factors that had contributed to this, including an increase in global trade and, through tourism, global travel; and an increase in the domestication of, for example, the …

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