Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Meetings with national farmer organisations to disseminate project findings and items for their newsletters and a leaflet on control of paratuberculosis

The Department of Knowledge Policy (formerly ECLNV) in the Netherlands and the National Beef Association (NBA) in the UK have been the organisations which have been active in the EU project (QLK2-CT-2001-00879) entitled �The role of wildlife in the epidemiology of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis in domestic ruminants� in disseminating the results and findings of this project to stakeholders involved with the paratuberculosis problem.

The findings from the project when added to the results of previous studies indicate that preventing livestock to livestock transmission of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (Map) must be the priority in any paratuberculosis control strategy but that wildlife to livestock transmission must also be targeted especially where wildlife species represent a significant source of environmental contamination with Map and the farming systems result in high levels of exposure of livestock to such contamination. The combination of field studies and modelling suggests that the livestock systems most at risk from Map in wildlife are Scottish cattle systems where rabbits represent a significant source of Map and Greek small ruminant systems where rodents can contaminate stored feed and common grazing of livestock allows between herd and flock transmission of Map. In contrast, in countries such as Czech Republic where almost zero grazing by dairy cattle is the norm, the risk from Map in wildlife is extremely limited. In addition, in the last two years the rabbit population in the Netherlands has become virtually extinct due to viral haemorraghic syndrome (VHS), further limiting the interaction between this wildlife species and domestic livestock.

This information has been passed to the Department of Knowledge Policy of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food quality, in the Netherlands who have formulated a communication plan for disseminating this information to the livestock and wildlife sectors and to the policy making bodies.

At the quarterly meetings of the scientific commission on paratuberculosis in the Netherlands, the stakeholders have been informed about the results. These recommendations are regularly distributed to all Dutch dairy farmers and available to all stakeholders in the form of a booklet, the so-called �Parawijzer�.

In the UK, the NBA has held farmers meetings, published papers on the role of wildlife in the epidemiology of paratuberculosis and chaired an industry government partnership aimed at increasing the awareness of the livestock sector on the impact of paratuberculosis on herd health and measures to control the disease. These publications include 25,000 leaflets, 3,000 posters, a CD with technical information, frequently asked questions booklet and a powerpoint presentation for vets. This �literature pack� was sent to all project partners for consideration for use in their own countries in their paratuberculosis education and control programmes.

The results from the project are also available to national farmers organisations on the project website www.ucm.es/info/para-tb and on the website of the International Association for Paratuberculosis http://www.paratuberculosis.org/ and will be fed into several workpackages and via the dissemination workpackage (including a dedicated website) to the stakeholders of the new EU funded STREP- project on paratuberculosis (ParaTBTools).

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Ed VAN KLINK
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