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Quantification of wildlife faecal contamination of the feeding environment

Quantification of wildlife faecal contamination of the feeding environment. Two feeding environments were considered:
- Farm stored livestock feed and
- Livestock grazing pastures.

In Greek farms with M.a.paratuberculosis infected rodents, livestock feed stored on the farms was found to be contaminated with up to 120 rodent faeces/kg of feed. In the UK, information from farms on stocking densities and known disease prevalence, combined with M.a.paratuberculosis excretion rates (for livestock and rabbits) and published literature were used to quantify the relative input of bacteria onto grazing pasture by rabbits and domestic livestock. It was estimated that cattle, sheep and rabbits contribute 2.1 x 10{10}, 6.2 x 10{8} and 1.7 x 10{8} cfu / ha respectively.

Due to the limited data available, the figures for rabbits are likely to be conservative. Grazing livestock contact potentially infective doses of M.a.paratuberculosis from rabbits on a daily basis. Consequently the exposure of livestock to wildlife faeces and thus M.a.paratuberculosis can be high and the faecal oral route of wildlife to livestock transmission is a likely route of inter-species transmission.

Reported by

Scottish Agricultural College
Scottish Agricultural College, Bush Estate,
ML12 6NP Penicuik
United Kingdom
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