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Scientists develop canine ehrlichiosis vaccine
Continued research needed before commercialisation

A study into canine monocytic ehrlichiosis (CME) by scientists in Israel has led to a breakthrough, enabling the development the world's first ever CME vaccine.

Dr Shimon Harrus and Dr Gad Baneth were performing a study with their doctoral students to determine how long ticks must be attached to a dog's fur in order to transmit the disease, however, when some dogs were not affected, they decided to investigate further.

"I was using bacteria I cultured in my lab," explained Harrus. "All of a sudden I realised the two dogs in our experiment did not become sick, and the ticks I put on the dogs did not become infected.


"Then we performed a big study and we realised something important was going on."

When a brown dog tick passes bacteria to a dog's blood stream via a bite, the dog will have a fever and lowered blood-cell counts. This progresses to a chronic stage in some dogs, which is often fatal. After initial infection, a dog will require a lengthy course of antibiotics, unless they have been administered tick-control beforehand.

The vaccine, which took around five years to develop, is the first to prove effective against the attenuated Ehrlichia strain of the disease.

"We need to make sure it works against other strains, we need to learn the mechanism by comparing the attenuated strain against wild strains, and we have many other research questions," said Harrus, adding that funding is needed for continued research before the vaccine can be commercialised.

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World Bee Day celebrations begin

News Story 1
 Today (20 May) marks the fifth annual World Bee Day, which raises awareness of the importance of bees and pollinators to people and the planet. Observed on the anniversary of pioneering Slovenian beekeeper Anton Jana's birthday, this year's celebration is themed: 'Bee Engaged: Celebrating the diversity of bees and beekeeping systems'.

Organisations and people celebrating the day will raise awareness of the accelerated decline in pollinator diversity, and highlight the importance of sustainable beekeeping systems and a wide variety of bees. Slovenia, the initiator of World Bee Day, will be focusing on teaching young people about the significance of pollinators. 

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Further avian flu cases confirmed

Three cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 have been confirmed in recent days, bringing the total number of cases in England to 98.

On Thursday, the APHA confirmed two cases of HPAI H5N1 near Redgrave, Mid Suffolk and Market Weston, West Suffolk. A case H5N1 was also confirmed in poultry at a premises near Southwell, Newark and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire.

Protection and surveillance zones are in place around the affected premises. Further details are available at gov.uk