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College Tackles Shortage Of Disease Experts In The UK

by 5m Editor
2 November 2007, at 3:50pm

UK - Outbreaks of bird flu, foot-and-mouth and bluetongue in the UK have exposed a shortage of disease experts, according to the Royal Veterinary College.

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“You’re piecing together information from many scientific disciplines, including microbiology, ecology, social sciences and animal husbandry in order to understand how a disease is spreading.”

Prof Dirk Pfeiffer, from the Royal Veterinary College

In response, the college is offering bursaries on its infectious disease course and scholarships to encourage the best students on to its epidemiology course.

Although the UK leads the way in training people in veterinary studies, the changing nature of disease occurrence means there is now a shortage of skilled professionals.

The Government has relied heavily on its epidemiology work of late – not only do epidemiology reports determine the nature of the spread of disease, such as foot-and-mouth and bluetongue, but they also form a vital part of the risk assessment used to lift livestock movement restrictions.

Prof Dirk Pfeiffer, from the Royal Veterinary College said: “Veterinary epidemiology is like detective work, trying to identify the reasons behind occurrence of disease.

“You’re piecing together information from many scientific disciplines, including microbiology, ecology, social sciences and animal husbandry in order to understand how a disease is spreading.”

Experts say these skills will be increasingly in demand as African swine fever becomes the latest disease to migrate to Europe from its tropical home.

Global warming and an increase in the movement of animals will further increase the threat of disease in the UK, say experts.

Source: FarmersGuardian

5m Editor