AHI Newsletter Q2 2018 FINAL


Dr David Graham, CEO, Animal Health Ireland

T he second quarter of 2018 has been one of continued activity within AHI on a number of fronts. One key areas was the completion of the stakeholder consultation on AHI’s strategic plan for 2018-2020 which began earlier in the year. This provided myself and Mike Magan, the AHI Chairman, with the valuable opportunity to meet with senior representatives from a number of organisations. These discussions have fed into the completion of the strategic plan, which is now available on our website click here . During this quarter we have appointed two new members of staff. Firstly, Dr. Maria Guelbenzu has joined us from the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Northern Ireland as programme manager for BVD and IBR click here . Maria’s experience in laboratory diagnostics and disease eradication programmes will be an important asset to AHI, ensuring continued progress with both of these programmes. Secondly, progress on IBR will be further enhanced by the appointment of Jonas Brock to a PhD studentship which will focus on modelling of IBR in support of a national eradication programme. This work is in collaboration with the same team that previously developed the national BVD model which has been instrumental in informing decisions in that programme. Our inability to complete the appointment a new Beef HealthCheck programme manager following a recent round of interviews due to the late withdrawal of the successful candidate was disappointing, but the position has been re-advertised and we look forward to making an appointment in the coming months. As reported in detail by the programme managers in the body of the newsletter, progress continues across a number of programmes. A key activity on Johne’s disease has been the presentation of two consultancy reports commissioned by the Implementation Group which will help inform the next phase of the Irish Johne’s Control Programme. The prevalence of calves born persistently infected (PI) with BVD continues to be half that seen in 2017 (0.05% compared to 0.10%). Analysis of somatic cell count data for 2017 shows continued progress toward the programme’s target, with 71% of milk by volume having a SCC below 200,000 cells/mL, while the average national cell count decreased by a further 11,000 cells/mL to 175,000 cells/mL. Our focus on communications to stakeholders and the wider industry continued during this period, with the holding of our Annual General meeting and publication of our Annual Report and a series of bulletins and information leaflets. Training and awareness events for farmers and/or and vets on IBR, Johne’s disease and somatic cell count were also held. Further details on these, and all our activities, are provided in this newsletter. Finally, the role of the Technical Working Groups is essential in developing AHI programmes, and in this edition, we take the opportunity to profile two recently-appointed members of the JD TWG.



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