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6 June 2016

First Tick Awareness Expert Panel Meets on Tick-Borne Disease in the UK
Rising concerns over current and emerging risks discussed

Birmingham, July 06, 2016 – Today an expert panel from across the veterinary industry met to discuss the rising risk of tick-borne disease and increasing concerns over current and emerging threats.

Representatives from the human and animal health sector met to hear academics and thought leaders present the science on the current and future risk of ticks and tick-borne disease to both pets and their owners. The event was hosted by MSD Animal Health, creators of the Big Tick Project, and was designed as a collaborative meeting whereby the science and other areas of knowledge and expertise could be openly shared and discussed.

Amanda Melvin, Senior Product Manager, MSD Animal Health comments: “This event is a first for the animal and human health sector. Our aim is to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and exchange ideas between experts and industry leaders. The most recent science was presented to help develop understanding on the risk of disease both now and in the future, stimulate debate and agree a collaborative approach for the way forward. Our aim is to establish a clear strategy to help support the health and well-being of pets and pet owners in the UK.”

Presenters on the day included Richard Wall, Professor of Zoology at the University of Bristol; Ian Wright of ESCCAP UK presenting on the risks of disease from Europe; Dr Sandra Pearson, Medical Director for Lyme Disease Action; Paul Sands of Pride Veterinary Care, discussing the limitations of examination of pets for ticks and the role of the vet in educating the public; and Elizabeth Peplow of Sourced Communications, discussing the role of the media in communicating the risks to pets and owners from rising tick numbers.

The event was conceived by MSD Animal Health following a collaboration with the University of Bristol who made the first full set of results from the Big Tick Project available earlier this year. The research, managed by Professor Richard Wall at the University of Bristol and recently featured in the media, has already pointed to increasing the need for surveillance of tick-borne disease in the UK. Earlier this year five cases of the potentially fatal tick-borne disease Babesiosis were confirmed in dogs based in Essex, none of which had travelled abroad. The Ornate Dog Tick, Dermacentor reticulatus, endemic in the area of Essex, has been identified as carrying the pathogen responsible, Babesia canis.