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Scientists create early-warning system to defend rare Jersey cows from continental disease
Date:1/5/2010

cases of BTV were discovered in the UK, where fortunately the outbreak was small.

The danger that the disease may again spread to the UK from across the channel is of special concern to the Channel Island of Jersey, which maintains a world renowned cattle industry, but is at heightened risk of infection if the disease becomes established along the Cherbourg peninsula or the Normandy and Brittany coastline.

The risk comes from the possibility that the tiny midges can be carried on the wind from the French coast to the Island. To monitor this threat the team set up midge light traps in farms across the island to monitor midge activity and to identify the presence of any potential vector species.

The results were then collated and analysed alongside data from the Jersey Meteorological Department, which allowed the team to pinpoint when livestock were at risk from a number of locations on the mainland. This information was fed into the UK Met Office early-warning website which has also been used on the mainland to help predict and defend against the disease.

"Environmental conditions, especially temperature, wind speed and direction have a significant impact on the biting midge in terms of activity and abundance," concluded Sanders. "Monitoring the midge population in Jersey will provide the farming community on the mainland with knowledge of when the midge season commences in the diseased areas of the near continent."


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Contact: Ben Norman
Benorman@wiley.com
44-124-377-0375
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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