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Systems for sample collection (blood and urine) from unanaesthetised badgers for diagnostic purposes - SE3273

Description
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) continues to represent a major animal health problem in Great Britain, with more than 25,000 cattle slaughtered in 2009 as a result of positive diagnosis. Badgers act as a wildlife reservoir of the causative agent of bTB, Mycobacterium bovis, and are implicated in the transmission of disease to cattle. Experience from Great Britain and elsewhere demonstrates that the elimination of disease in domestic livestock may prove problematic where such a wildlife reservoir of infection exists. Consequently, the control of infection in badger populations in regions of high bTB incidence is a priority.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has emphasised the need to identify practical tools with which to detect TB infection in free-living badgers, at both the individual and group levels. The diagnosis of TB in live badgers represents a considerable scientific and methodological challenge, and to date no technique has been identified which can be applied to a cage-trapped wild animal without the need for anaesthesia. Such techniques would potentially permit the application of a “trap-side” testing approach, thus facilitating a broader range of management options than are currently available for the sustainable control of TB infection in badgers and cattle. Even if accurate, "trap-side" tests can be developed a significant limitation to their use will be the collection of the diagnostic sample itself. Currently, samples are taken from badgers following induction of anaesthesia by injection under Veterinary supervision and under the authority of Home Office A(SP)A licences and is not practical on a large scale in the field.

The work proposed in this project is for the development of new systems for collecting blood and urine samples from conscious trapped badgers without recourse to anaesthesia. This work will complement a separate SID3 submission from AHVLA that will evaluate a range of novel diagnostic approaches for TB in wild badgers using the types of sample that could obtained using the methods proposed here (namely, blood and urine).
Objective
The work proposed in this project is for the development of new systems for collecting blood and urine samples from conscious trapped badgers without recourse to anaesthesia. Specific objectives of the project:

1. Develop methods for capillary blood collection from unanaesthetised badgers (by 02/12/2013).

2. Modify cage-traps to collect urine (by 30/08/2013).

3. Compare sensitivity of diagnostic assays between samples collected from anaesthetised and unanaesthetised badgers (by 06/12/2013).
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2011

To: 2015

Cost: £197,683
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA)
Keywords
Animal Diseases              
Animal Health              
Diagnosis              
Tuberculosis              
Fields of Study
Animal Health