Sheep scab may help poultry
Sheep scab researchers at the
Moredun institute may produce an answer to a major problem for the poultry
Sheep scab is a highly contagious
allergic dermatitis caused by a mite now widespread in the British national
flock. Dr. John Huntley, at Moredun, is a specialist trying to develop a vaccine
to eradicate it.
The poultry mite, feeding on the
birds in the dark, hiding when it is light, cause anaemia, loss of eggs, feather
loss and pecking disorders. Results indicate that control of the poultry mite,
could be achieved much sooner than vaccine control of sheep scab. The red mite
causes huge financial losses as well as frequent severe allergic reactions among
staff and is becoming resistant to many chemicals now used.
Huntley and colleagues have found
that the red poultry mite has much common with cattle ticks. He said: "There is
a cattle tick vaccine, so that was a good place to start," he said. "We have
also developed a technique to maintain red mites in the laboratory, feeding on a
regular supply of fresh blood.
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