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Disease surveillance in England and Wales, July 2018

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APHA disease Surveillance report headlines

  • Unusual outbreak of malignant catarrhal fever in cattle

  • Warm summer weather brings increased risk of haemonchosis in sheep

  • Porcine circovirus-associated disease in vaccinated and unvaccinated pigs

  • Suspected botulism in wild birds

Highlights from the scanning surveillance network


Malignant catarrhal fever

Several diagnoses of malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) have been recorded by the APHA Veterinary Investigation Centres (VICs) in recent months, mostly affecting single animals in separate herds. However, an outbreak in Cumbria, investigated at the APHA Penrith VIC, was noteworthy as eight housed adult dairy cows were affected and unusual clinical signs were reported.

The first affected animal collapsed and died exhibiting dysentery. Two others in the group of 212 milking cows subsequently died rapidly. Postmortem examination of one of these cows revealed conjunctival reddening and ulceration of the tongue, hard palate and gums, in addition to caecal inflammation with bloody contents.

About this report

This report is produced each month by the APHA Surveillance Intelligence Unit and the six Species Expert Groups (livestock and wildlife). The international horizon-scanning summaries are produced by the Defra/APHA International Disease Monitoring (IDM) team, notifiable disease reports by the APHA Veterinary Exotic and Notifiable Disease Unit (VENDU), and threat analysis by the cross-agency Veterinary Risk Group (VRG). The report is drawn from scanning surveillance information, data and reports produced by the APHA Veterinary Investigation Centres and non-APHA partner postmortem examination providers contributing to the Veterinary Investigation Diagnosis Analysis (VIDA) database and complying with standardised diagnostic and laboratory testing criteria. Other livestock and wildlife scanning surveillance reports may be found at

Bacterial culture ruled out salmonellosis and a PCR for pestiviruses was negative, but ovine herpesvirus 2 (OHV-2), the causative agent of MCF, was detected by PCR on the spleen and in two blood samples from other affected animals in the same group.

MCF is a systemic disease, with most cases developing the ‘head and eye’ …

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