QMS warns of fluke season peak

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) has warned that peak liver fluke season is approaching and said the disease costs the UK agriculture industry £300m a year.

So severe is the risk of liver fluke, condemnations to livers cost the meat industry £3.2m in 2010 alone, which is why QMS held a liver fluke workshop recently.

The workshop was hosted by the Moredun Research Institute and focused on the current fluke situation, as well as the methods of control available to farmers.

“Evidence from various sources suggests that the prevalence of infection has increased considerably in recent years,” said Dr Philip Skuce, senior research scientist at Moredun.

He added that changing weather patterns – mild winters and wet summers – had been one of the biggest contributors to the problem. “However, increasing reports of drug resistance and increased animal movements and changes to farming management practices may also play a role.”

Statistics indicate there was a 10-fold increase in fluke in the last quarter of 2012, compared to the same period in 2011, which was attributed to the wet summer across the UK last year.

Meanwhile, science and innovations manager at QMS Charlotte Maltin said: “There are growing concerns about drug resistance and, unanswered questions for example what happens to fluke cysts and eggs in silage, slurry or hay.”


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