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Agriculture 2013, 3(3), 484-502; doi:10.3390/agriculture3030484

Global Change and Helminth Infections in Grazing Ruminants in Europe: Impacts, Trends and Sustainable Solutions

1
School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Bristol, Langford House, Langford, North Somerset BS40 5DU, UK
2
Laboratory of Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke B-9820, Belgium
3
Avia-GIS, Zoersel 2980, Belgium
4
Cooperativa Epidemiologia e Prevenzione "Giulio Alfredo Maccacaro", Milan 20148, Italy
5
Institute for Parasitology and Tropical Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 14195, Germany
6
Laboklin, Bad Kissingen D-97668, Germany
7
Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX, UK
8
Moredun Research Institute, Edinburgh EH26 0PZ, Scotland, UK
9
Department of Biomedicine and Vet Public Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala 753 12, Sweden
10
Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Grange, Dunsany, Co. Meath, Ireland
11
UNIFORM-AGRI BV, Assen 9401, The Netherlands
12
School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland
13
Department of Pathology and Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Naples "Federico II", Naples 80137, Italy
14
Institute of Parasitology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zürich, Zürich 8057, Switzerland
15
Section of Epidemiology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zürich, Zürich 8057, Switzerland
16
Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Athens, GA 30602, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 July 2013 / Revised: 6 August 2013 / Accepted: 8 August 2013 / Published: 26 August 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Diseases in Agriculture Production Systems: Trends and Impacts)
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Abstract

Infections with parasitic helminths (nematodes and trematodes) represent a significant economic and welfare burden to the global ruminant livestock industry. The increasing prevalence of anthelmintic resistance means that current control programmes are costly and unsustainable in the long term. Recent changes in the epidemiology, seasonality and geographic distribution of helminth infections have been attributed to climate change. However, other changes in environment (e.g., land use) and in livestock farming, such as intensification and altered management practices, will also have an impact on helminth infections. Sustainable control of helminth infections in a changing world requires detailed knowledge of these interactions. In particular, there is a need to devise new, sustainable strategies for the effective control of ruminant helminthoses in the face of global change. In this paper, we consider the impact of helminth infections in grazing ruminants, taking a European perspective, and identify scientific and applied priorities to mitigate these impacts. These include the development and deployment of efficient, high-throughput diagnostic tests to support targeted intervention, modelling of geographic and seasonal trends in infection, more thorough economic data and analysis of the impact of helminth infections and greater translation and involvement of end-users in devising and disseminating best practices. Complex changes in helminth epidemiology will require innovative solutions. By developing and using new technologies and models, the use of anthelmintics can be optimised to limit the development and spread of drug resistance and to reduce the overall economic impact of helminth infections. This will be essential to the continued productivity and profitability of livestock farming in Europe and its contribution to regional and global food security. View Full-Text
Keywords: helminthoses; ruminants; diagnosis; control; infection risk; global change; climate change; anthelmintic resistance; risk management; spatio-temporal modelling; epidemiology; food security helminthoses; ruminants; diagnosis; control; infection risk; global change; climate change; anthelmintic resistance; risk management; spatio-temporal modelling; epidemiology; food security
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Morgan, E.R.; Charlier, J.; Hendrickx, G.; Biggeri, A.; Catalan, D.; von Samson-Himmelstjerna, G.; Demeler, J.; Müller, E.; van Dijk, J.; Kenyon, F.; Skuce, P.; Höglund, J.; O'Kiely, P.; van Ranst, B.; de Waal, T.; Rinaldi, L.; Cringoli, G.; Hertzberg, H.; Torgerson, P.; Wolstenholme, A.; Vercruysse, J. Global Change and Helminth Infections in Grazing Ruminants in Europe: Impacts, Trends and Sustainable Solutions. Agriculture 2013, 3, 484-502.

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