Endemic respiratory disease in cattle and sheep causes major welfare and economic problems for UK farms despite the widespread use of vaccines and antibiotics. Estimates of the financial cost run into millions of pounds per year, due to a combination of production losses, deaths, and veterinary bills. Additionally, carrier animals that may show no sign of disease, but are able to infect others, are difficult to identify and treat.
Reducing disease losses improves animal health and welfare, increases efficiency and reduces the environmental impact of farming, whilst supporting the rural economy. Disease control is best accomplished using vaccination where possible. Current work at Moredun using up-to-date technology and exploiting novel genome information seeks to identify more effective vaccines and diagnostic agents.
It is important to determine the cause of respiratory disease in order to identify the correct treatment and management of the outbreak (antibacterial, anti-inflammatory drugs) and for future stock management (vaccination, housing).
Research on the epidemiology of respiratory diseases provides the underpinning knowledge required for the development of new improved control methods and, along with disease surveillance is vital to detect and control emerging diseases and changing patterns of endemic diseases in Scotland, the UK and throughout the world.
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