Now showing 1 - 10 of 11
  • Publication
    The History of In Vivo Tuberculin Testing in Bovines: Tuberculosis, a “One Health” Issue
    Tuberculosis (TB) is more than 3 million years old thriving in multiple species. Ancestral Mycobacterium tuberculosis gave rise to multiple strains including Mycobacterium bovis now distributed worldwide with zoonotic transmission happening in both directions between animals and humans. M. bovis in milk caused problems with a significant number of deaths in children under 5 years of age due largely to extrapulmonary TB. This risk was effectively mitigated with widespread milk pasteurization during the twentieth century, and fewer young children were lost to TB. Koch developed tuberculin in 1890 and recognizing the possibility of using tuberculin to detect infected animals the first tests were quickly developed. Bovine TB (bTB) control/eradication programmes followed in the late nineteenth century/early twentieth century. Many scientists collaborated and contributed to the development of tuberculin tests, to refining and optimizing the production and standardization of tuberculin and to determining test sensitivity and specificity using various methodologies and injection sites. The WHO, OIE, and EU have set legal standards for tuberculin production, potency assay performance, and intradermal tests for bovines. Now, those using tuberculin tests for bTB control/eradication programmes rarely, see TB as a disease. Notwithstanding the launch of the first-ever roadmap to combat zoonotic TB, many wonder if bTB is actually a problem? Is there a better way of dealing with bTB? Might alternative skin test sites make the test “better” and easier to perform? Are all tuberculins used for testing equally good? Why have alternative “better” tests not been developed? This review was prompted by these types of questions. This article attempts to succinctly summarize the data in the literature from the late nineteenth century to date to show why TB, and zoonotic TB specifically, was and still is important as a “One Health” concern, and that the necessity to reduce the burden of zoonotic TB, to save lives and secure livelihoods is far too important to await the possible future development of novel diagnostic assays for livestock before renewing efforts to eliminate it. Consequently, it is highly probable that the tuberculin skin test will remain the screening test of choice for farmed livestock for the considerable future.
      483Scopus© Citations 51
  • Publication
  • Publication
    Herd and within-herd BoHV-1 prevalence among irish beef herds submitting bulls for entry to a performance testing station
    (Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.), 2008) ; ; ;
    Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR), caused by bovine herpes virus 1 (BoHV-1), may result in various clinical consequences, including severe respiratory disease and conjunctivitis, venereal disease and reduced reproductive performance and abortion. This paper presents the serosurveillance findings from an intake of bulls into a performance testing station in Ireland during November 2007. The herd and within-herd BoHV-1 prevalence in 53 Irish beef herds and the risk factors for infection in these herds were determined, among bulls entering a beef performance testing station in Ireland. BoHV-1 status was determined for 41 herds, of which 30 (73.2%) herds were infected and the mean within-herd BoHV-1 prevalence was 28 (± 20)%. Multivariate exact logistic modelling revealed increasing numbers of contiguous herds and decreasing percentage of males within the herd as significant risk factors associated with infected herds. These findings highlight the high prevalence of BoHV-1 infection in those Irish beef herds that submitted bulls to this performance testing station, and raise concerns regarding IBR control nationally.
      366Scopus© Citations 18
  • Publication
    Understanding the dog population in the Republic of Ireland: insight from existing data sources?
    Background: Reliable information about national pet dog populations is an important contributor to informed decision-making, both by governments and national dog welfare organisations. In some countries, there is an improved understanding of aspects of the national pet dog population, but as yet limited published information is available in Ireland. The current study reviews the utility of existing data to inform our understanding of recent changes to the pet dog population in Ireland, including both biological and organisational processes. Results: Based on national data on dog licencing and microchipping registration, pet dog numbers have remained relatively stable in recent years (ie prior to the COVID-19 pandemic). Since 2015, there has been a substantial decrease in the number of dogs managed through dog control centres. Although the completeness of the data are likely variable, there appears to be substantial, and increasing, number of dogs moving from Ireland to other countries, including UK, Sweden, Italy, Germany and Singapore. We also note an increase (albeit much smaller) in the number of dogs being moved into Ireland. Conclusions: This study highlights the challenges faced when using existing national data to gain insights into the dog population of Ireland. The linking of existing national databases (individual dog identification, dog licencing, dog control statistics) has the potential to improve both the representativeness and accuracy of information about the Irish pet dog population. In the next phases of our work, we will focus on the work of dog welfare organisations, given both the increased role played by these organisations and the substantial public funding that has been committed in this sector.
      325Scopus© Citations 2
  • Publication
    Cadmium and other heavy metal concentrations in bovine kidneys in the Republic of Ireland
    In Ireland, an estimated 15% of Irish soils exceed the EU threshold limit for soil Cd of 1 mg/kg. The aim was to determine the concentrations of Cd and other heavy metals (As, Hg and Pb) in kidneys collected from cattle at slaughter. Systematic sampling of eligible animals (animals that were born and reared until slaughter in the same Irish county) at the time of slaughter was conducted, until a threshold number of animals from all 26 counties and 6 age categories was reached. A predictive surface of soil Cd was generated, by kriging the Cd values of 1310 previously reported soil samples. A linear regression weighted model was developed to model kidney Cd concentration, using the risk factors of age, sex, breed, province and estimated soil Cd concentration. Kidney Cd (n = 393) concentrations varied between 0.040 and 8.630 mg/kg wet weight; while concentrations of As, Hg and Pb were low. The estimated weighted proportion of animals with a high (≥ 1 mg/kg) kidney Cd concentration was 11.25% (95% CI: 8.63–14.53%). Key predictors for high kidney Cd concentration were soil Cd, animal age and province. At a soil Cd concentration of 1.5 mg/kg, it was predicted that an age threshold to avoid exceeding a kidney Cd concentration of 1 mg/kg in most animals would be ~ 3 y in Connacht, > 4 y in Ulster, and > 5 y in Leinster and Munster. In naturally occurring areas of high Cd levels in soils in Ireland, the Cd level in bovine kidneys can exceed the current EU ML of 1 mg/kg in older animals. Kidneys of most cattle under three years of age will conform with EU requirements.
      331Scopus© Citations 28
  • Publication
    The spatial distribution of pet dogs and pet cats on the island of Ireland
    (Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.), 2011) ; ; ;
    Background: There is considerable international research regarding the link between human demographics and pet ownership. In several international studies, pet ownership was associated with household demographics including: the presence of children in the household, urban/rural location, level of education and age/family structure. What is lacking across all these studies, however, is an understanding of how these pets are spatially distributed throughout the regions under study. This paper describes the spatial distribution of pet dog and pet cat owning households on the island of Ireland. Results: In 2006, there were an estimated 640,620 pet dog owning households and 215,542 pet cat owning households in Ireland. These estimates are derived from logistic regression modelling, based on household composition to determine pet dog ownership and the type of house to determine pet cat ownership. Results are presented using chloropleth maps. There is a higher density of pet dog owning households in the east of Ireland and in the cities than the west of Ireland and rural areas. However, in urban districts there are a lower proportion of households owning pet dogs than in rural districts. There are more households with cats in the urban areas, but the proportion of households with cats is greater in rural areas. Conclusions: The difference in spatial distribution of dog ownership is a reflection of a generally higher density of households in the east of Ireland and in major cities. The higher proportion of ownership in the west is understandable given the higher proportion of farmers and rural dwellings in this area. Spatial representation allows us to visualise the impact of human household distribution on the density of both pet dogs and pet cats on the island of Ireland. This information can be used when analysing risk of disease spread, for market research and for instigating veterinary care.
      2773Scopus© Citations 13
  • Publication
    Seroprevalence of Louping Ill virus (LIV) antibodies in sheep submitted for post mortem examination in the North West of Ireland in 2011
    (Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.), 2012) ; ; ;
    Blood samples were collected opportunistically at routine post mortem examination from 199 sheep which came from 152 flocks. The location of each submitting flock was mapped. Sera were tested using a goose blood haemagglutination inhibition assay for louping ill virus. There was an animal level prevalence of 8.5%, and a flock level prevalence of 9.8%. The greatest proportion of seropositive animals was identified among the animals older than 24 months of age. The elevation of the land associated with positive flocks was greater than that of negative flocks. Lesions of non-suppurative meningoencephalitis were observed in three of the 199 animals.
      309Scopus© Citations 3
  • Publication
    A mixed-method survey to understand the role of dog welfare organisations in Ireland, including reported challenges and potential solutions
    Background: This novel study forms part of a larger research programme seeking an improved understanding of aspects of the owned dog population in Ireland. Dog welfare organisations (DWOs) in Ireland are recognised as an instrumental pillar of the animal welfare sector with some receiving substantial public funding. We conducted a survey of DWOs in Ireland (n = 39) to gain a better understanding of their role and function, including their policies and procedures and the rehoming of dogs to other regions. In addition, we wanted to get a better understanding of the challenges experienced by DWOs in fulfilling their role and their perspectives on potential solutions to these challenges. The survey questions consisted of closed and open-ended items. Closed items were analysed quantitively; open-ended items were analysed thematically. Results: Most DWOs (> 80%) had written protocols for important welfare actions including rehoming procedures, assessment of owner suitability and euthanasia. DWOs sent dogs to Northern Ireland (13%), Great Britain (38.5%) and to other countries outside the United Kingdom (36%, including Germany, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands and Czechia). Reported challenges included a general lack of funding, limited public awareness of the importance of dog welfare and insufficient capacity to handle dog numbers. To address these challenges, the DWOs highlighted the potential contribution of subsidised programmes and access to resources to educate potential owners. In a further qualitative evaluation to capture perceptions of appropriate solutions by DWOs, several themes emerged, relating to legislation, education, an overwhelmed workforce, and funding. Conclusions: This study provides important insights into the roles and functions of DWOs and challenges they experience in Ireland. It is hoped that the findings from this research will inform future research investigating potential solutions to these challenges as well as the development of policy in Ireland.
  • Publication
    Exposure to Schmallenberg virus in Irish sheep in 2013
    Fetal malformation due to Schmallenberg virus (SBV) was diagnosed in 49 cattle herds and 30 sheep flocks in the south and south east of Ireland in 2013. Serological and pathological studies in cattle, and pathological studies in sheep indicated SBV exposure was confined to the south and south east of Ireland. It was anticipated that SBV exposure would spread north westwards over the course of the 2013 vector season. The objectives of this study were to determine the geographic distribution of SBV exposure in Irish sheep before and during the 2013 vector season, and to determine if SBV was active in flocks where SBV infection had been previously confirmed. There was no further increase in the geographic extent of exposure to SBV during the course of 2013, nor was there evidence of SBV transmission during 2013 in flocks where SBV had been previously confirmed.
      292Scopus© Citations 6
  • Publication
    An evaluation of Irish cattle herds with inconclusive serological evidence of bovine brucellosis
    (Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.), 2009) ; ; ;
    Since 1998, there has been a steady decline in herd restrictions and de-populations in Ireland due to bovine brucellosis. There is concern that the interpretation of laboratory results may become increasingly problematic, as brucellosis prevalence falls in Ireland. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to evaluate the infection status of Irish herds and animals with inconclusive serological evidence of bovine brucellosis. During 12 months from September 1, 2004, laboratory and observational epidemiological data were collected from all Irish herds where animal testing identified at least one animal with a complement fixation test (CFT) reading greater than zero and/or a positive result to the indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (iELISA). Due to the observational nature of the study, we have robust estimates of the relative, but not the absolute, performance of the CFT, iELISA and brucellin skin test (BST). Herds were divided into three categories (Group A, B or C) on the basis of test results at initial assessment. A total of 639 herds were enrolled into the study, and observed for at least two years following enrolment. A rising CFT titre, with a CFT reading of 111 International CFT Units (IU) or greater at the subsequent blood test, was generally associated with herds where other evidence of infection was also available. Knowledge of the CFT reading at the initial and a subsequent blood test proved useful in distinguishing false-positive and true-positive brucellosis results. There was poor correlation between the CFT and iELISA results, and between the CFT and BST results. As a result of this study, national policy has been modified to include re-sampling of all animals with CFT readings of 20 IU or greater. This project has also led to a reduction in the number of herds restricted, as well as restriction duration. It has also contributed to a reduction in the number of herds listed for contiguous tests, and therefore the potential for contiguity testing of false positive results.
      363Scopus© Citations 5