AHVLA has repeated its warnings to livestock keepers of the need to be aware of the very high risk of liver fluke infection this year following the wet summer of 2012. Predictions of an increased level of infection in the autumn and winter of 2012/13 are now being confirmed by an increase in diagnoses. Data shows that between October and December 2012, 69 cases of acute fasciolosis in sheep were recorded, compared with seven in the same period in 2011. Seventy-three cases of chronic asciolosis were also recorded in sheep between October and December 2012, compared with 19 the year before.
AHVLA, together with the Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS) initiative, are warning of a continued high risk of fluke infection for grazing animals in the early part of 2013 because the infective stage of the fluke will survive well on pasture land in mild, wet winters. Gavin Watkins, chair of AHVLA's Cattle Expert Group, said: 'Prevention is difficult at this time of year and vets have reported that the incidence of infection on some farms is so high that animals have had to be housed to avoid the risk of further infection. It is important to remember that, as well as cattle and sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas are highly susceptible to fluke infection."