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Volume 12, Number 2—February 2006

Detecting Emerging Diseases in Farm Animals through Clinical Observations

Gwenaël Vourc'h*, Victoria E. Bridges†, Jane Gibbens‡, Brad D. De Groot§, Lachlan McIntyre¶, Roger Poland#, and Jacques Barnouin*
Author affiliations: *Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Theix, France; †US Department of Agriculture, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA; ‡Defra, London, United Kingdom; §Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA; ¶EpiCentre, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand; #Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Wellington, New Zealand

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Table 1

Examples of emerging diseases and how they were detected and identified in farm animals in the last 20 years

Emerging disease (etiology) Species Location, date Detection keys at time of emergence Ref.
Blue tongue (Reoviridae) Sheep Mediterranean basin, 1998–01 Disease normally occurring south of the Mediterranean basin (10)
Border (Flaviviridae) Sheep France, 1994 Unusual death rates and clinical signs for the region: abortion, nervous signs, hydrocephalus (11)
Bovine leukocyte adhesion deficiency (CD 18 gene mutation) Holstein cattle Different countries, 1980s Unusual death rates in calves with recurrent infections (12)
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (prion) Cattle Great Britain, 1980 Unusual clinical and pathologic signs in the species: progressive neurologic disorders, gray matter vacuolation and scrapie associated fibrils (8)
Complex vertebral malformation  (SLC35A3 gene mutation) Dairy cattle Denmark, 2000 Unknown lethal congenital defect (13)
Epizootic rabbit enteropathy (unidentified virus) Rabbits Europe, 1996 Unknown disease: serious enteritis, highly contagious, often fatal (14)
Hendra virus disease (Paramyxovirus) Horses, humans Australia, Papua New Guinea, 1994 Sudden outbreak of acute respiratory syndrome in horses (15)
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1 virus) Poultry, humans Southeast Asian countries, 2003–2004 Outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in poultry (16)
Nipah virus disease (Paramyxovirus) Swine, humans Malaysia and Singapore, 1998 Outbreak of unknown highly contagious disease in pigs: acute fever, respiratory signs, neurologic signs; encephalitis in humans (17)
Porcine dermatitis and nephropathy syndrome (suspected porcine circovirus 2) Swine United Kingdom, 1993 Unusual clinical signs: unusual skin lesions in patches and plaques (18)
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (Arteriviridae) Swine North America, 1987 Unusual association of: swine infertility, respiratory problems, abortion, and cyanotic ears (19)
Post-weaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (Suspected porcine circovirus 2) Swine Canada, 1990 Unusual association of: wasting, dyspnea, enlarged lymph nodes, diarrhea, pallor, and jaundice (18)
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease (Caliciviridae) Rabbits China, 1984 Unusual high death rate and hemorrhage (20)
West Nile fever (Flaviviridae) Humans, crows United States, 1999 Unusual cluster of human encephalitis, extensive death rate in crows, deaths of exotic birds in a zoo (21)

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