Bird flu has high zoonotic potential, say OIE


The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has announced that the strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (or ‘bird flu’) currently circulating in birds in Asia and Europe has greater zoonotic potential due to the high number of variants.


Veterinarian and OIE Director-General, Dr Monique Eloit, recently told Reuters that the outbreak, which first emerged in October last year, had the potential to be worse than previous bird flu waves, which resulted in the culling of tens of millions of birds and trade restrictions.


“This time the situation is more difficult and more risky because we see more variants emerge, which make them harder to follow. Eventually, the risk is that it mutates or that it mixes with a human flu virus that can be transmitted between humans then suddenly it takes on a new dimension,” said Dr Eloit. Full story: Reuters


Sustainable Veterinary Careers’ mission continues


Sustainable Veterinary Careers (SVC) has launched a new website in the next step of its mission to help address the profession’s mental health and attrition problems. The not-for-profit organisation aims to pull together the many pieces of this puzzle in “a strategic and evidence-based way” incorporating social science, industry insights and data from sources around the world to identify areas where better knowledge and skills correlate directly with better wellbeing, motivation and satisfaction for veterinary personnel.


“There is a lot of talk about what contributes to the high attrition rates, poor mental health, and dissatisfaction in the veterinary profession. Meanwhile, social scientists know a great deal about what motivates and satisfies people in work and life contexts. SVC aims to collate and disseminate the best resources to spark an industry-wide cultural shift, delivering stronger mental health and retention of veterinary professionals long into our future,” said veterinarian Dr Kate Clarke, one of the co-directors of SVC. Full story: dvm360


New WHA initiative will help prevent pandemics


The Australian Government has invested in a $8.4 million initiative by Wildlife Health Australia (WHA) to prevent, detect and mitigate the impacts of emerging animal diseases, including those with pandemic potential.


“Strengthening Australia’s national wildlife health framework, including surveillance at the human-livestock-wildlife interface, is key to providing early warning of emerging disease risks in Australia. Protecting our native wildlife and ecosystems is also critical to pandemic prevention, with increasing potential for diseases to emerge as climate change and changes in land use put pressure on our wildlife and environment,” said WHA’s CEO Dr Rupert Woods.


The new initiative will help to better identify the underlying causes of wildlife health events, determine their relevance to human, animal and environmental health and inform immediate or long-term action. Full story: Wildlife Health Australia


Vets working with wool industry to return vaccine access


Australian woolgrowers are working with veterinarians to restore access to the Custom Footrot R-Pilus Vaccine, which was pulled off the market in late-2020. Funded by the not-for-profit research and development organisation, Australian Wool Innovation, the vaccine had previously been granted an emergency use permit enabling it to be sold without going through the full two-to-four year registration process. But the permit was voided late last year due to the renewed availability of a similar product.


WoolProducers Australia, the peak national policy and advocacy body for wool growers, have been working with Sheep, Camelid and Goat Veterinarians (SCGV) President Dr Andrew Whale and Tasmania-based sheep veterinarian Bruce Jackson to work out the way forward. WoolProducers General Manager Adam Dawes told Queensland Country Life the group were looking to lobby the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to provide private or government-based veterinarians minor use permits to prescribe the vaccine to specific producers.


“Having it limited to specific veterinarians that are overseeing or advising on an eradication program does fit under what we and the APVMA think comes under a minor use permit. We’re in the process at the moment of engaging with state-based chief veterinary officers in all sheep producing states to gauge their interest in having a meeting or an exchange with APVMA,” said Mr Dawes. Full story: Queensland Country Life