8 April 2015
Nationwide diagnostics confirm continuing leptospirosis threat
MILTON KEYNES, UK, April 8, 2015 - Leptospirosis remains a common threat to dairy and beef herds in Britain, according to extensive new data collected over the last 18 months from the MSD Animal Health EXPERTIS™ BeefCheck and DairyCheck disease diagnostic schemes.
This latest data set, taken from 1841 non-vaccinating farms1, shows that on average 45% of herds were positive for leptospirosis antibodies, highlighting the importance of vaccination at turnout. When looking specifically at dairy herds, the infection level rose to 58%.
The disease was prevalent in all parts of the country (see disease map), with over 50% of the herds being affected in Wales and large parts of south west, northern and central England.
“Leptospirosis is caused by a bacterial infection, and there are two strains which are known to affect UK herds, L. hardjo prajitno and L. hardjo bovis,” explains MSD technical manager John Atkinson. “In some cases, the effects of an infection can be dramatic. For example, in a recent leptospirosis outbreak in Ayr reported in March this year2, 12 cows from a herd of 160 experienced a sudden onset drop in milk production.”
In many cases, however, the disease doesn’t cause these dramatic effects, but it can significantly lower fertility and cause poor calf health3.
“Spring turnout is traditionally the time of year to make sure your herd is fully protected against bovine leptospirosis,” he continues “This is because, at grass, uninfected cattle are suddenly exposed to the urine of infected animals that may be shedding the disease. “Moist spring grass is also a favourable environment for leptospirosis to survive outside the host.”
Leptospirosis also infects people, for example through contact with cattle urine. The latest data from Public Health England4 shows that farmers are at particular risk of contracting this infection, which may cause severe flu-like symptoms that can last for weeks or months.
Farmers are recommended to contact their veterinary surgeon for advice on how to protect against leptospirosis.
1 – Expertis™ BeefCheck and DairyCheck data, October 2013 – March 2015
2 – Milk drop due to leptospirosis in dairy cows, Veterinary Record, 7 March 2015, p247-250
3 – Ellis, W.A. et al.(1988), Res Vet Sci, 44, p375-379
4 – UK Zoonoses Report, available at:https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/zoonoses-reports
5 - GfK and Ceesa data, MAT February 2015
About MSD Animal Health
Today's MSD is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. MSD Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA., is the global animal health business unit of MSD. Through its commitment to theScience of Healthier Animals™, MSD Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest range of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services. MSD Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. MSD Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit www.msd-animal-health.com or connect with us on LinkedIn.
MSD forward-Looking Statement
This presentation includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of MSD’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. There can be no guarantees with respect to pipeline products that the products will receive the necessary regulatory approvals or that they will prove to be commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.
Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; MSD’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of MSD’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.
MSD undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in MSD’s 2014 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (www.sec.gov).