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Moredun ISSUE 4 | AUTUMN/WINTER 2012

magazine

Global conference tackles livestock drug resistance Food Security - the challenges of feeding an increasing world population Update on Schmallenberg virus

www.moredun.org.uk


Contents

Chairman’s comment

In this Issue: p1-2

News

p3

Global conference tackles livestock drug resistance

p4

Moredun scholarship funds three short projects

p5

Moredun Scientific and Pentlands Science Park update

p6

Food security: the challenges of feeding an increasing world population using sustainable approaches

p8

Update on Schmallenberg virus

p10

Out and About

p12

Focus On... Moredun’s Animal Health Roadshow

p13

Moredun scientists win new funding for vaccine development against Toxoplasma gondii, the most successful parasite worldwide

Welcome to the Autumn/Winter edition of the Moredun magazine where we are reporting on some of our research highlights and outreach activities that have taken place during the first half of the year. I am a firm believer in the importance of education and ensuring that our research outputs bring benefit to livestock producers and other end users of our work. With its strong connections to the farming community, Moredun has delivered, and continues to deliver, effective solutions to prevent and control diseases of livestock both in the UK and worldwide. A topic of global significance is how best to treat diseases of livestock while minimising the risk of developing antimicrobial and anthelmintic resistance. Working in collaboration with the NFUS, Moredun hosted a highly successful international conference looking at how new technologies may be applied to provide solutions to this increasing problem. A report of this conference is on page 3. I was delighted to take part in the development of the first Moredun Foundation Scholarship Awards this year, page 4. The scholarship scheme provides funding for individuals to undertake a short term project

that will benefit the UK livestock industry. Improving the sustainable efficiency of livestock production through better disease control will play an important role in safeguarding food security. The global population is predicted to reach 9 billion by 2050 with the demand for food expected to rise by 70% compared with the present day. This topic presents significant challenges and Moredun has developed and hosted several events to discuss the issues around food security and some of the potential solutions, reported on page 6. An update on the newly recognised Schmallenberg Virus is on page 8. The virus may cause disease in the developing calf or lamb foetus and has spread from continental Europe into southern England. Moredun is currently screening all suspected Schmallenberg cases in Scotland. I am very proud to have been involved with Moredun over many years in my former capacity as Chairman of Moredun Research Institute and more recently as Chairman of the Moredun Foundation. The outputs from Moredun have brought considerable benefit to farmers and done much to improve the health and welfare of farm livestock. I am confident that Moredun will continue to respond positively to the real challenges we face in the future to prevent and control livestock disease.

John Ross Moredun Foundation Chairman

Moredun Magazine Moredun magazine is produced twice a year and is available free of charge.

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Designed and Produced by Moredun Communications Centre © 2012.

Please contact: Moredun Communications Team, Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Penicuik, Midlothian EH26 0PZ

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Moredun Magazine | Autumn/Winter 2012

tel: +44 (0)131 445 5111 fax: +44 (0)131 445 6111 e-mail: info@moredun.org.uk web: www.moredun.org.uk

The Moredun Foundation is a company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland No. SC151865. The Moredun Foundation is a charity registered in Scotland, No: SC022515 Address: Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland, EH26 0PZ. Cover image: Jakub Gloser


NEWS

On your marks, get set, go! Inspired by the recent sporting events, friends and staff at Moredun have been busy this year getting involved and making their own contributions to Britain’s year of sporting success. Marathon success Two of Moredun’s scientists gunning for gold earlier this year were Professor Gary Entrican and Dawn Grant who both set great times and raised a fantastic amount for charity by pounding the tarmac in the 32nd London Marathon this April. Well done to both for their fantastic achievements.

Sean Wattegedera (second on left) with fellow Edinburgh Games Makers.

Games Makers

Professor Gary Entrican happy to have finished.

Tickets were difficult to come by but one lucky Moredun scientist did get to experience the London Olympics by volunteering. A keen tennis player and a big sports fan Sean Wattegedera was inspired to take time out from the lab to be a Games Maker Volunteer, helping out at Wimbledon for the Olympic tennis events. As a Field of Play Attendant Sean ensured the courts were fully prepared for matches, escorted players and dealt with their requests.

Olympic fun day Not to be seen to let London have all the fun, at Moredun we entered teams into our very own Olympic fun day. Despite the unseasonable weather staff jumped, ran, hopped, threw and clambered their way to glory.

Team Norway showing concentration and co-ordination.

Willie Stewart, Moredun regional advisor and torch bearer.

The Olympic flame Moredun’s North of Scotland Regional Advisor, Willie Stewart, had a once in a lifetime experience as an Olympic torch bearer. Willie who resides in Orkney was rewarded for all his hard work within the community by being nominated as a torchbearer for the Olympic flame’s journey through Kirkwall on June 10. Five days later the torch had made its way to Midlothian and staff got a glimpse of it as it passed through Penicuik.

Team Egypt’s costumes proved to be a hindrance during the more physical events!

Moredun Magazine | Autumn/Winter 2012

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News New Chairman for Moredun Research Institute Moredun was delighted to appoint Professor Alexander (Sandy) Trees as the new Chairman of Moredun Research Institute in December 2011. Professor Trees, who has a home in Perthshire, is a leading veterinary surgeon who has worked in general practice, industry and academia, laterally serving as Dean of the University of Liverpool’s Faculty of Veterinary Science. He has made an enormous

‘It has been a major achievement for Moredun to be able to recruit someone of Professor Tree’s calibre’

for Moredun to be able to recruit someone of Professor Tree’s calibre and will further enhance Moredun’s reputation both nationally and internationally.” In July this year, Professor Trees’ contribution to the veterinary profession was further recognised when he was appointed to the House of Lords as a non-party-political peer. Professor The Lord Trees, as he will now officially be known, commented on his appointment, “I am honoured to have been appointed to the House of Lords. As an

contribution to research into livestock health

appointed crossbencher I am expected, and

and is internationally recognised for this

will try, to contribute to the work of

knowledge of veterinary parasitology.

Parliament across a range of areas. As a

John Ross, Chairman of the Moredun

working peer it is important to maintain

Foundation was delighted to welcome

involvement with one’s professional activities

Professor Trees to the MRI board. He

and this role and my role as MRI chairman

commented, “It has been a major achievement

will complement one another.”

Photo | Copyright Press and Journal

Moredun Chairman facilitates merger 2012 Christmas cards now available The Moredun Foundation is delighted to announce the launch of its official Christmas card for sale to members and supporters this year. ‘Sheep in Snow’ is a beautiful oil painting by Northumberland artist Joe Hush and is exclusively available to Moredun this year, so if you want to make sure your card stands out from the rest – order some today! Please see the enclosed merchandise leaflet for further details about this card and the other gifts we have for sale this year. Remember that all items are available for sale through our website www.moredun.org.uk/shop

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Moredun Magazine | Autumn/Winter 2012

John Ross with (on the left) Vice Chairman of the NBA Scotland, Jim Stewart, and (on the right) Chairman of the SBCA, Scott Henderson.

John Ross, Chairman of the Moredun Foundation, has helped establish an agreement between the National Beef Association (NBA) and Scottish Beef Cattle Association (SBCA) to join together to form a single body to represent Scottish beef producers.

Having been approached by both organisations, John Ross agreed to act as the independent Chairman and facilitate the NBA and the SBCA through the negotiation stages. The official launch of the new body, named the Scottish Beef Association, took place at the Royal Highland Show in June and the group is in the process of electing a new board.


News

Global conference tackles livestock drug resistance Scotland continued to cement its reputation as a world leader in animal health at a conference to tackle the problem of drug resistance and livestock, which was hosted by Moredun in July.

Drug Resistance: Turning the tide on microbial and parasite resistance in livestock was a two-day event organised by Moredun and the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) to examine the use of smart strategies to deal with prevalent livestock diseases whilst mitigating against the growing problems of antimicrobial and anthelmintic resistance. Scotland, which is a hub for world class animal science, has the resources to develop husbandry systems and disease control strategies which deliver the high levels of production efficiency needed to meet the growing challenges of food security and minimise antibiotic interventions. The conference built on that foundation. Day one of the conference began by highlighting the European experience and the targeted reductions of antimicrobial use implemented in the Netherlands. The speakers that followed then focused on how research can develop better diagnostics, systems design and vaccines which can reduce interventions on farm. The role of farm vets in driving proactive monitoring and health planning was also examined. Day two was dedicated to parasite control and the challenges of developing drug resistance in both endo and ecto parasites. A panel of international speakers and delegates explored the role of quarantine and how new anthelminthics, targeted therapy and emerging vaccine technology can contribute to sustainable control.

‘Moredun and NFUS are pleased to co-host this important debate. Diseases of livestock remain a principal cause of poor animal welfare and inefficiency of production. This conference is not just about describing problems, it’s about finding solutions.’

Working breakout sessions were held on the afternoon of each day to collate the opinions and thoughts of the 170 delegates who travelled from around Europe to attend and contribute to the discussion. It was hoped that conclusions from these breakout sessions could be used to help develop future priorities and approaches that could be implemented at farm level. The summary reports from all the breakout sessions as well as copies of the main speakers presentations can be viewed at www.moredun.org.uk/drug-resistance-event.

Professor Julie Fitzpatrick, Scientific Director of the Moredun Research Institute and Chief Executive of the Moredun Foundation commented, “Moredun and NFUS are pleased to co-host this important debate. Diseases of livestock remain a principal cause of poor animal welfare and inefficiency of production. This conference is not just about describing problems, it’s about finding solutions. We need to use drugs appropriately and to maintain their efficacy while avoiding risk to the human population. We also need to develop different management approaches and new products, including vaccines and diagnostics to ensure global food security in the years to come.”

Speakers from day two of the drug resistance event. Back row (left to right): Professor Neil Sargison, Dr David Smith, Sandy Welsh and Dr Dave Knox. Front row (left to right): Dr Philip Skuce, Fenwick Jackson, Dr Brown Besier and Dr Fiona Kenyon.

Moredun Magazine | Autumn/Winter 2012

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Photo | Crown Copyright 2012

Research Moredun Scholarship funds three short projects

Psoroptes mites can cause a serious skin disease in cattle.

Calling all Scottish cattle farmers – Volunteers required for a cattle scab survey Psoroptic mange (cattle scab) is a serious skin disease that has recently been introduced into herds in England and Wales. It is highly contagious and treatment can be problematic. The condition has not been diagnosed in Scottish herds but it is important to remain vigilant as its introduction would have serious welfare and economic implications. The Moredun Foundation is delighted to have awarded Scholarship funding for a project to increase the awareness of cattle scab and its possible impact on Scottish farms. The project is being run by NFU Scotland and the project managers are seeking to work with Scottish cattle producers to determine if their herds are at risk of being infected with cattle scab. If you have imported cattle from Europe over the last year (or plan to import cattle) or if you have cattle which have had a skin condition which has failed to respond to treatment please contact Lorna Paterson or Lisa Roberts at NFU Scotland, or complete and return the flyer enclosed in this mailing.

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Moredun Magazine | Autumn/Winter 2012

The Moredun Foundation, as a charitable body, exists to promote animal health and welfare through research and education. Although Moredun has grown significantly since it was originally formed by farmers in 1920, it is proud of the strong links it has retained with the farming and agricultural community. As part of its charitable activities, the Foundation launched a scholarship scheme at the end of 2011 to provide an opportunity for individuals in the UK to pursue a short term project that would benefit the UK livestock industry. Moredun hopes that these Scholarships will support and encourage innovative and diverse projects and contribute to Moredun’s mission to improve the health and welfare of livestock. Moredun was delighted to receive nearly 20 scholarship applications from farmers, vets, students and researchers across the UK in the first funding round. The selection panel, which

consists of scientists, farmers and members of the press, met in March and, impressed by their ideas and the potential benefits of the projects, agreed to fund the following three Scholarship applications: A survey to highlight potential prevalence of psoroptic mange in cattle in Scotland and to raise awareness of this disease to those who may import cattle from at risk areas – Lorna Paterson and Lisa Roberts, NFUS A survey of ewe mortality in the North of England using carcasses submitted to AHVLA Thirsk from fallen stock. This would provide additional prevalence data on a range of infectious sheep diseases – Fiona Lovatt, Castle Vet Group. A project to evaluate a new way to analyse digital dermatitis lesions in dairy cows using thermal imaging cameras – Dr Sarah Harland, Bristol Vet School All three projects are currently underway and will be completed by the end of the year. Moredun is delighted to announce that the successful applicants will present the results of their projects so far at the Foundation AGM on 6 September and full reports from each project will appear on the Moredun website and in the next edition of the Moredun magazine.

Applications for the 2013 scholarship scheme will open on 6 September 2012! The Moredun Foundation will be awarding another three scholarship awards of up to £1,000 each in 2013. Projects may involve work experience, travel and collaborations with science or the arts and are open to individuals over the age of 18 living in the UK with the condition that you are a member of the Moredun Foundation at the time of applying. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, further information, application forms and guidance notes can be found at www.moredun.org.uk/scholarship


Moredun Scientific/Pentlands Science Park

Cattle Pneumonia an ongoing challenge Cattle pneumonia or acute bovine respiratory disease (ABRD) continues to be a significant economic and welfare problem in calves. Severe cases can lead to mortality but more common outcomes include decreased growth rates, particularly where there is permanent lung damage. The disease syndrome can be caused by a number of different viruses and bacteria. Mycoplasma bovis is one of several bacteria involved along with Pasteurella multocida, Mannheimia haemolytica and Histophilus somni. Moredun has an ongoing research focus on the underlying causes of respiratory disease which provides the underpinning knowledge required for the development of new and improved control methods.

Moredun Scientific (the commercial arm of the Moredun Group) offers a range of services to animal health companies looking to test the efficacy of novel vaccines and therapeutics to combat the disease.

For further information contact Moredun Scientific: info@moredun-scientific.com

Pentlands Science Park: Part of a global science park network Pentlands Science Park (PSP) strives to provide an environment where knowledge based businesses can operate and grow successfully. PSP helps stimulate links between industry and the Research Institute, provides flexible

specialist accommodation and a range of support services that deliver added value to Moredun and our tenant companies. However, in these challenging economic times we have to ensure that the Park remains competitive and continues to deliver the added value that helps retain and attract tenants. To help achieve this we engage with the wider science park community locally, nationally and internationally. At a local level, PSP has been an active member of the Edinburgh Science Triangle (EST) initiative since 2004. There are seven science parks within EST who work closely together to promote the value of the science parks within the Edinburgh City Region. Whilst we are competitive in our desire to maximise occupancy of our own Parks, there is a high level of co-operation between the parks to attract businesses and value to the area which will have great benefits for both the science base and the wider economy. At a national level, PSP is a member of the United Kingdom Science Park Association (UKSPA) and is represented on the Board by Park Manager, George Walker, who has been Secretary/Treasurer for the past three years. The association represents over 70 parks across the UK, creating numerous networking and regional focus groups. The member

meetings and services provided by UKSPA are invaluable in developing best practice for science parks and delivering added value services and benefits to the parks and their tenant companies. Globally, Science Parks are represented by the International Association of Science Parks (IASP) which has some 390 members. The IASP World Conference 2012 took place in Tallinn, Estonia in June, attracting over 500 delegates from across the globe. PSP Park Manager George Walker, together with Douglas Reid from Roslin BioCentre, were among the 15 UK delegates in attendance. Although the global competition can seem daunting, due to the scale of some park developments in countries such as the USA, Qatar, Brazil, and China; PSP and the other Scottish parks have a valuable role to play and must play to their strengths. For PSP, we are fairly unique in having a veterinary and animal bioscience focus and, of course, are part of a World leading capability here at the Bush Estate. For more information about the organisations above please visit the following websites: www.edinburghsciencetriangle.com; www.ukspa.org.uk; www.iasp.ws

Moredun Magazine | Autumn/Winter 2012

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Moredun’s patron HRH The Princess Royal chats to one of Moredun’s young scientists at a recent food security event.

Food Security: the challenges of feeding an increasing world population using sustainable approaches Food security concerns the availability of safe and nutritious food produced using sustainable and efficient systems. The demand for food is expected to increase by 40% in 2030 and by 70% in 2050 to meet the anticipated global population growth. At the same time the amount of land suitable for food production is likely to decrease. Therefore we need to develop sustainable and efficient methods of food production that minimise impact on the environment. The United Nations annual report on food security raises many issues of high public interest both in the UK and globally, covering areas such as: a growing global population; unequal access to available food; pressures on available agricultural land; climate change; loss of biodiversity and genetic erosion; food pricing and trade agreements; obesity vs malnutrition;

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Moredun Magazine | Autumn/Winter 2012

food sovereignty issues where multi-national corporations are buying agricultural resources in developing countries; and increased threat of disease risk to crops, animals and people.

Food security is a complex issue which intersects many different research disciplines and is also a topic that everyone can engage with. Moredun has developed several high profile public engagement events to raise awareness of the issues involved in food security and to encourage public debate and discussion around this highly relevant topic. Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal attended one of the events, Food Security: Scotland’s Role, held at Moredun Research Institute on 28 February where she congratulated scientists for the contribution their research is making to provide safe and sustainable food, not just in Scotland and the UK, but globally. The networking event was attended by over 120 representatives from the agricultural, veterinary and research sectors as well as NFUS, Health Protection Scotland, Food


FOOD SECURITY: the challenges

Standards Agency Scotland and the Scottish Government where discussions were held with the participants on how we could work more closely together to improve food security for all. Food security is not just about increasing food productivity, it is also about wasting less. Supplying safe, nutritious foods must be achieved in a sustainable manner with minimal impact on the environment and animal welfare. Pests and diseases have a significant impact on growth rates, food conversion ratios and food quality in livestock. Moredun’s research is focussed on developing diagnostic tests, vaccines and disease control strategies to prevent disease and thus maximise efficiency of production and reduce waste. Professor Elisabeth Innes introduces the Feeding The 7 Billion event.

Panel members at the Feeding The 7 Billion event.

A further event took place at the National Museum of Scotland on 3 April as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, called Feeding the 7 Billion. This lively debate was chaired by broadcaster and journalist Vivienne Parry and involved short contributions by an

expert panel comprising; Professor Julie Fitzpatrick, Moredun; Professor Peter Morgan, Rowett Institute; and Professor David Hopkins from Heriot Watt University. This was followed by a Q and A session with members of the audience. The event was a great success in raising awareness of many of the issues involved in Food Security and generated the opportunity for people to discuss and debate what the challenges are and, perhaps more importantly, what some of the potential solutions might be. Some of the younger members of the audience felt that the issues discussed were of particular relevance to them: Poppy Mulligan (aged 16), “Food security was not something I had heard much about

Engaging with the public at the Feeding The 7 Billion event.

and I feel that younger people need to take a more active role in trying to come up with potential solutions to these issues as we are the ones that will have to live with the consequences in the years to come. I will be half way through my life when the population reaches 9 billion”.

Food security is a complex issue which intersects many different research disciplines and is also a topic that everyone can engage with. HRH The Princess Royal was keen to learn how Moredun’s work can help sustainable food production.

Moredun Magazine | Autumn/Winter 2012

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Research Update on Schmallenberg virus Dr Kim Willoughby, head of the Virus Surveillance Unit at Moredun answers some of the main questions being asked by livestock farmers about Schmallenberg virus and its impact on the UK livestock industry. What is Schmallenberg virus? Schmallenberg virus (SBV) is a newly discovered infection of sheep, cattle and goats. It was first detected in Germany and the Netherlands but has since been found in many European countries, including Southern and Eastern England. The Freidrich Loeffler Research Institute in Germany first confirmed this was a new virus and called it Schmallenberg virus, after the area where it was first found. Although there is still a lot to learn about this new virus, it is closely related to other viruses, notably Akabane virus, which is also transmitted by Dr Kim Willoughby.

biting insects and causes fetal deformity. SBV is also related to two similar viruses in the same

virus can also infect the developing fetus (calf,

virus and Shamonda virus. For all these viruses,

What diseases does Schmallenberg virus cause?

adult animals do not usually show any

Original reports of disease were of fever and

cord, causing damage to these organs and

symptoms of infection and it is only when a

milk drop in adult dairy cows in the summer

deformity of the legs, spine and head.

deformed lamb, calf or kid is born that the

of 2011. However, in pregnant animals the

Deformed calves and lambs were born late in

family (the orthobunyaviruses) called Aino

disease is suspected.

lamb or kid), attacking the brain and spinal

2011 and into 2012. Most of the time, similar viruses do not cause disease in non-pregnant

Photo | Crown Copyright 2012

animals (see below), so Schmallenberg virus may be slightly different; careful surveillance will be needed in affected areas to determine how important this is.

How is Schmallenberg virus spread? Schmallenberg virus is almost certainly spread by infected insects, most likely to be midges in the Culicoides family.

How did Schmallenberg virus get into the UK? Analysis of weather records suggest that the virus probably spread to South and East England when infected midges from continental Europe were carried over the channel in the second half of 2011 by a Brain from animal infected with Schmallenberg virus. The black arrow indicates a normal part of the brain, the white arrows indicate virus-induced cavities.

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Moredun Magazine | Autumn/Winter 2012

favourable wind direction and fed on domestic livestock. As cases were seen in the UK in


Photo | Crown Copyright 2012

RESEARCH

sheep as late as May it is likely that the disease has overwintered. While cases have still only been reported in the South East, South West and East of England farmers across the UK are warned to remain vigilant for possible cases causing milk drop or fetal deformity.

How can you detect Schmallenberg in animals? A specific PCR test to detect the virus in deformed fetuses is available and Moredun is screening all suspect Schmallenberg cases in Scotland using this test. A serology test is also

Schmallenberg virus (SBV) is a newly discovered infection of sheep, cattle and goats. It was first detected in Germany and the Netherlands but has since been found in many European countries, including Southern and Eastern England.

Deformed lamb infected with Schmallenberg virus.

Can the infection be transmitted from animal to animal?

available to screen for antibody to the virus in blood samples which will identify animals that

We don’t think so, as other viruses closely related to Schmallenberg virus need the midge/mosquito to transmit infection. More research is being performed to find out more about Schmallenberg virus, how it is maintained within the vector and how it spreads.

may have had a previous infection. Defra will continue to pay for SBV testing in areas where

Photo | Crown Copyright 2012

the disease has not been reported before.

How big a problem is it in the UK? In 2012 there were 220 confirmed premises with affected sheep, 3 premises with affected cattle and sheep and 53 premises with only cattle affected. AHVLA will soon be publishing the results of a survey of sheep farmers they conducted which will provide more information about the impact of this disease.

Is there a vaccine available? MSD Animal Health have recently announced that they have developed a vaccine to protect against Schmallenberg virus, but this vaccine is unlikely to be available for use by farmers until it has gone through the proper approval process with the VMD. It is therefore unlikely that this vaccine will be available before the 2012 tupping period.

Is there a risk to human health? Studies have determined that there is no evidence of infection of humans in close contact with infected animals and no illness has been reported to date in humans. It is therefore unlikely that Schmallenberg virus infects people but at-risk groups (pregnant women, immunosuppressed people) should be advised to take suitable precautions if disease is suspected in the flock/herd.

What should farmers be doing? Comparative risk of vector incursion between July and November 2011 with plume for 13/11/2011. (Note: plumes suitable for vector incursion occurred on less than 20% of days during this period) Actual Scale 1:5,200,000

Map prepared by IDM

Acknowledgements: Dr Helen Roberts, AHVLA (Executive Agency of Defra) and Dr Laura Burgin, Met Office.

Farmers are encouraged to look for and report any signs of disease such as milk drop, diarrhoea, fever and inappetance in adult animals at this time of the year as well as signs of congenital deformities in newborn animals, to their vet.

Moredun Magazine | Autumn/Winter 2012

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Out and About Science Sparks – End of Year Report Moredun’s new education initiative, Science Sparks, has had a very successful first year bringing together scientists, teachers and the business community to help develop and deliver a new collaborative educational resource for the primary classroom. The main objective of Science Sparks is not just to provide teachers with resources (teacher notes, worksheets, project and activity suggestions) but also to generate ideas, confidence and enthusiasm to enable

‘Science sparks hits the spot with the children. A clear winner!’

Bug

Busters

the exploration of current scientific issues and allow pupils to have fun discovering the relevance of science to the world around them. Currently, in collaboration with our partners, these resources cover a range of curriculum linked topics including; health and wellbeing; conserving biodiversity; climate change and disease impact; and renewable and alternative energy. Successful interactive teacher workshops were held throughout the year to introduce the topics to schools and generate interest. As a result of the workshops 20 pilot schools worked with the materials and helped us trial and evaluate the scheme.

In addition to this working group the resources were also launched online at the Association for Science Education’s Scottish Conference in March this year. Since its launch the website has generated some fantastic interest with an additional 208 schools and organisations across 20 different regions of Scotland having signed up to use the resources. We are looking at opportunities to further enhance and develop this successful scheme going forward. For more information please visit the Science Sparks website: www.sciencesparks.org.uk or email education@moredun.org.uk.

Bug Busters at the Edinburgh International Science Festival New for 2012, Bug Busters was launched at the Edinburgh International Science Festival in April and proved to be very popular with children and adults alike. Moredun’s new interactive education exhibit, all about the immune system and the fight against disease, was developed in collaboration with the British Society for Immunology. The exhibit provided an excellent platform to showcase Moredun’s work on vaccine development and attracted over 650 visitors across the 2 days.

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Moredun Magazine | Autumn/Winter 2012


OUT AND ABOUT

Show report During the summer months each year a team of Moredun vets and scientists travel around the UK attending specialist sheep and beef events in order to keep farmers up to date with the latest advances in livestock health research. Moredun had an extremely successful summer show season this year. Beef Expo in Malvern in May was a great event and Moredun’s team were kept busy throughout the day answering lots of cattle health questions – with lots of interest about Smallenberg virus and Bleeding Calf Syndrome. Scotsheep in Ayrshire the following week suffered from horrendous weather but it didn’t stop nearly 8000 sheep farmers attending the event, which meant that the Moredun stand had farmers queuing to speak to our vets and scientists about sheep health matters. The end of June saw Moredun at the Royal Highland Show, an event that also suffered due to the weather. Moredun’s marquee remained upright and watertight though and we had a very busy four days speaking to farmers, politicians, supermarkets, funding bodies and members of the public about our work. However, Sheep 2012 in Malvern was undoubtedly Moredun’s most successful event

Professor Julie Fitzpatrick and Maggie Bennett from Moredun receiving the Best Stand 2012 from the NSA judges.

this summer, with over a hundred people visiting our stand to speak to our team of sheep health specialists through the course of the day. We also ran a parasite focus area with SCOPS and EBLEX that was extremely successful and we were delighted to be awarded the Best Stand 2012 by the NSA at this event.

Local school children were entertained at Scotsheep by Moredun’s education team.

For further information about the shows and events Moredun will be attending please visit www.moredun.org.uk/events

The parasite focus area at Sheep 2012 was busy throughout the day.

Moredun Magazine | Autumn/Winter 2012 11


Focus On... Moredun’s Animal Health Roadshow Moredun is committed to sharing knowledge about developments in livestock health research and organises and participates in animal health events for farmers, vets and SQPs around the country throughout the year. Every November, Moredun commits to holding a series of its own free evening meetings around the UK. From Orkney to Cornwall, Kent to Carmarthen, Moredun’s roadshow exists to support the livestock industry, help promote livestock health and answer queries about disease control. This November is no exception and sees a team of Moredun vets and scientists embark on yet another national Animal Health Roadshow. The subjects and venues for the roadshow meetings are suggested by Moredun’s regional advisors, who represent the views of farmers throughout the UK. This helps ensure that Moredun’s roadshow meetings are of interest to local producers and those working in livestock health, and also that each area of the UK has an opportunity to host a meeting on a subject of its choice. Moredun’s annual national Animal Health Roadshow receives excellent feedback from attendees. Farmers, vets and SQP’s alike, value the fact that Moredun’s meetings are always free, open to all and completely commercially unbiased – no products are ever promoted which ensures that livestock producers can make an informed choice about disease control on their own farms. Evaluation of our roadshow events has shown that 98% of attendees report that they leave the meeting better informed about disease control options available to them. As a result, attendance at Moredun’s roadshow meetings has increased year on year, and, now the meetings are CPD accredited too, SQPs and vets are also benefiting from these events. In order to ensure that the roadshow continues to be successful, the format for the events continues to evolve. The meetings now feature multiple speakers, both from Moredun

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Moredun Magazine | Autumn/Winter 2012

Moredun’s free Roadshow meetings attract large crowds.

Locations of Roadshow meetings in recent years.

and from the livestock industry or local VI centre, to present local data and case studies. Several meetings now feature panel sessions, interactive workshops and quizzes to ensure that the audience become involved and can participate in the discussions on livestock health. It is a large financial commitment to run an annual roadshow and Moredun is indebted

to Quality Meat Scotland, Meat Promotion Wales and a variety of animal health companies who help cover the costs of these events. Details of this year’s roadshow is included with this mailing. If you would like further information on any of the individual events please visit www.moredun.org.uk/roadshow


NEWS

Moredun scientists win new funding for vaccine development against Toxoplasma gondii, the most successful parasite worldwide. The protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii can infect all warm blooded animals causing serious disease in farm livestock and humans. If women or sheep become infected for the first time during pregnancy, the parasite can cause serious disease or death in the developing foetus.

The parasite occurs worldwide and may be transmitted through consumption of the oocyst (egg) stage which is shed in the faeces of infected cats. People may also become infected through the consumption of undercooked

‘I am convinced vaccination of food animals can help reduce cases of human toxoplasmosis. I am delighted that this grant gives me the opportunity to develop this research whilst working with colleagues at Moredun.’

Dr Marieke Opsteegh.

Thank You As a registered charity The Moredun Foundation is indebted to donations from its members and supporters to help ensure that vital areas of our work can continue. Special thanks must go to the following organisations, all of whom have made donations to the Moredun Foundation in the last twelve months. Their support is greatly appreciated. Border Leicester Sheep Breeders Border Union Agricultural Society Buckland Charitable Trust Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales) J&JR Wilson Trust MSD Animal Health Novartis Animal Health Perth Ram Society Pfizer Animal Health Quality Meat Scotland Romsey Agricultural & Horse Show Society Scottish Blackface Sheep Breeders Volac International Limited

meat from food animals persistently infected with T. gondii. A recent survey of 125 sheep flocks across Scotland showed an overall seroprevalence of 56%, with every flock tested having some positive animals. Sero-prevalence increased with age showing that sheep were acquiring the infection throughout life and that there was widespread contamination of the environment with T.gondii oocysts. In collaboration with colleagues in the Netherlands, Moredun scientists have won research funding from the European Union to develop novel vaccines to reduce persistent infection of food animals with T.gondii. Dr Marieke Opsteegh from The Netherlands is the Marie Curie Post-doctoral fellow working on this project at Moredun and she comes with considerable expertise in the diagnosis and detection of T. gondii in food animals.

Moredun launches Members Only Area on website The Moredun Foundation is delighted to announce that it has developed a new members only area on its website. This area can only be accessed by current Moredun members as a direct benefit of membership and is full of extra animal health information on livestock diseases and their control.

Once you have registered, you will be able to access lots of extra animal health information including over fifty of the technical animal health newsheets that Moredun have produced in the past. As you will know, these newsheets are distributed to our members by post every twelve weeks, but for the first time, you, as a Moredun member, will be able to view all of these past newsheets 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on screen, as well as print copies at home for your own personal use. We hope to add podcasts and recorded interviews with some of Moredun’s scientists to this area over the coming months and are keen to hear what sort of resources you would like to see in the members only area. Please email your suggestions to info@moredun.org.uk

Moredun Magazine | Autumn/Winter 2012 13


The Moredun Foundation is a company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland No. SC151865. The Moredun Foundation is a charity registered in Scotland, No: SC022515 Address: Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland, EH26 0PZ.

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