2014-03-05   facebooktwitterrss

Louping-ill Control Boost

Sheep farmers concerned about controlling the tick-borne louping-ill virus received a boost this week with the news that MSD Animal Health has secured vaccine supplies for the new season.

Vaccination of a large proportion of sheep roaming tick-infested upland pastures helps stop louping-ill from spreading. Sheep should be vaccinated four weeks before the peak risk period and immunity lasts for at least 18 months.

Vaccination of a large proportion of sheep roaming tick-infested upland pastures helps stop louping-ill from spreading.

Vaccination of a large proportion of sheep roaming tick-infested upland pastures helps stop louping-ill from spreading.

Louping-ill is largely an upland disease problem because these areas provide just what the ticks that transmit the disease require, specifically a moist climate and a food source. And of course the food source is the sheep,” explains a MSD Animal Health spokesperson.

“Ticks can only survive off a host in a moist habitat of vegetation. The virus is not passed from an infected tick into the eggs that it lays, so the source of infection is always a blood meal from a host that has sufficient virus in its blood to infect a tick. And the only animal where the level of louping-ill virus in the blood is high enough to infect a tick is the sheep.

“That’s why a disease management regime – ideally a combination of tick control on the animal and vaccination – must target the sheep population. But because vaccine-induced immunity only lasts for at least 18 months it’s important that at risk sheep be re-vaccinated every two years.”

Farmers concerned about disease control in 2014 should contact their vet or usual animal health product retail outlet.

MSD

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