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Emerging animal diseases: from science to policy - Favv

Emerging animal diseases: from science to policy - Favv

Arthropod-borne viral

Arthropod-borne viral diseases potentially at risk for introduction in European countries F Glyn Davies FAO, Montgomery, United Kingdom Introduction There are many insect transmitted virus diseases, historically with a tropical and sub-tropical range, which, with the changes induced by global warming, currently present a potential threat to the more temperate countries of Europe. This has been shown by the dramatic and rapid extension of bluetongue into Southern Europe and now the United Kingdom, in an extremely short period of time. One tends to forget the extension of African Horse Sickness, another Culicoides transmitted Orbivirus, into the eastern Mediterranean in the 1960’s. Fortunately, this outbreak did not extend further into Europe. The over-wintering of the bluetongue virus strain 8 in Europe during the winter of 2007-2008 emphasises, the reality that these Culicoides transmitted viruses may now become endemic in countries as far north as Britain and France. There are 25 or more serologically distinct strains of bluetongue virus in the enzootic countries of Africa, and in turn, many of these may extend their range northwards into European countries. The gradual extension of these additional strains and the development of multi-strain killed antigen vaccines for immunisation, will present a considerable challenge to animal health authorities in European countries. Bluetongue virus occurs in domestic and wild Bovidae, Capridae and Ovidae throughout its range in sub Saharan Africa, but fortunately, most of the indigenous breeds of sheep, goats and cattle show a high degree of genetic resistance to infection with virulent bluetongue virus strains. For example, the challenge of indigenous black headed Somali type of sheep with virulent bluetongue virus, will not produce any signs of clinical disease. There may be a transient viraemia, but this will be only of short duration. Susceptible exotic wool sheep breeds imported into Africa from Europe, will however be severely affected by the same challenge, with clinical signs of the disease and some deaths. The indigenous cattle, in bluetongue enzootic countries may be shown to have antibody to many bluetongue virus strains (e.g. 6-16) at 4-5 years of age. They have not exhibited at any time in their lives, any clinical signs of a disease which might be bluetongue. The potential for the extension of other African insect borne virus diseases into European countries has become a reality. The movement of infected vectors from enzootic areas in Africa in thermal and other air currents over considerable distances has occurred. I wish to show examples of other 57

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