The Exotic and Particular Diseases Laboratory is taking part in DEFEND
The Exotic and Particular Diseases Laboratory is taking part in, and leading two WP of, the Horizon 2020 project called DEFEND, running from 2018 to 2023.
DEFEND is an international partnership of academic, industrial and governmental organisations working together to tackle the emergence of African swine fever and lumpy skin disease in European livestock.
1. The Exotic and Particular Diseases Laboratory will lead Work package 4. The aim of which is to elucidate the routes by which LSDV is transmitted from cattle to cattle and farm to farm and to assess their relative importance in LSD epidemiology.
- Arthropod vectors are believed to be involved in the transmission of LSD and will be a focus of this WP. Transmission studies will be performed after in vitro and in vivo feeding of different insect species. When LSD outbreaks would occur during the project then insects will be captured and checked for the presence of LSDV.
- In addition indirect transmission via fomites such as feed troughs and via contaminated stable environment will be examined. Semen will be collected from clinically affected bulls and checked for the presence of LSDV. LSDV positive semen will be used to inseminate heifers to study a possible LSDV transmission route in the absence of vectors. Semen will also be collected from bulls after vaccination with a live attenuated LSD vaccine to evaluate the presence of LSD viral vaccine strain.
2. The Exotic and Particular Diseases Laboratory will lead Work package 5. The aim of which is to better understand the impact of subclinical lumpy skin disease (LSD) on the epidemiology of the disease.
- This WP will evaluate the potential of LSDV subclinically infected animals to act as virus reservoirs by studying the ratio of subclinical/clinical infected animals and by comparing their level and duration of viremia. The study will also assess the potential of vector borne transmission from subclinically affected animals and compare it to results obtained from clinically affected animals.
- Poxviruses are known to survive a long time in dry conditions and historic information exists on LSDV survival in untreated meat and hides. As infected animal products could represent an indirect transmission pathway, the potential presence of LSDV in untreated meat and hides will be investigated and the influence of subclinical and clinical infection will be compared. The effect of meat and hide treatment, using internationally accepted pre-trade procedures, will be examined.