Friday, August 12, 2011

Good news on PCR

We are delighted to read on the alpaca TB support group website that they have secured a contract with AHVLA, to conduct a study into the use of PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) technology to support TB diagnosis in camelids. The news release explains:
"Following a further meeting in July with scientists at the VLA we are pleased to announce that we have now signed contracts with AHVLA Weybridge to conduct such a study. This technique is already used successfully for other similar
diseases and the AHVLA microbiologists are hopeful that due to the advanced gross pathology often found in camelids it may be possible to detect m.bovis in faeces, nasal swabs or blood."
This project will be trialled on alpacas presented for postmortem examination to AHVLA with suspected bTB, but the report continues:
"It is common knowledge that alpacas and llamas can be heavily infected and infectious with bTB and yet show no outward signs or symptoms whatsoever. If this project is successful the simplicity of taking a faecal sample or nasal swab to be tested at your local VLA would be a huge step forward.

If successful, the test could be used:
∙ Where an alpaca or llama in a herd that was not under TB restrictions showed clinical signs that could be attributed to TB.
. In herds recently confirmed as infected with M. bovis the test could be used to remove cases which were not picked up by the other ante mortem tests or whilst waiting for culture results or waiting for skin tests and blood tests to be carried out.
∙ As a routine screening test. Testing of faeces and nasal swabs will be quick and affordable. Samples can be taken by owners and sent to the AHVLA without the need for a farm visit from their vet."
The news release also explains that as well as being commissioned by the Alpaca TB support Group, they will be funding it. Further funding would be welcomed and would be ring fenced to this project.

Details of how to support this project can be found on the ‘DONATE’ tab on the Support Group website and they can contacted at any time for camelid support, as they explain in this flyer.

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