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Animals: Diseases

Volume 479: debated on Monday 29 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) sheep and (b) cattle were infected by coccidiosis in each of the last five years. (223214)

[holding answer 10 September 2008]: Coccidiosis is not a notifiable disease hence reporting of coccidia diagnoses is voluntary. The levels of endemic diseases, such as coccidiosis, in the cattle and sheep population of Great Britain (GB) are monitored through the Veterinary Laboratories Agency's (VLA) Endemic Disease Surveillance Programme. This is performed by analysis of test results from clinical diagnostic samples submitted by veterinary surgeons to the VLA regional laboratories and to the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) disease surveillance centres for investigation. The figures shown in Table 1 correspond to the number of coccidiosis incidents recorded by the VLA's Veterinary Investigation Diagnosis Analysis (VIDA) database for the years 2003 to 2008. Incidents in this setting are defined as farm holdings reporting a case of coccidiosis, affecting one or more animals, either for the first time or after a four-week period from the last reported incident of coccidiosis diagnosed on that farm. Note therefore that holdings can be recorded as having cases more than once within the same year.

All incidents of coccidiosis in cattle in Great Britain recorded on VIDA. 2003 to August 2008

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008 (January to August only)

January

37

33

35

19

30

28

February

21

19

20

30

21

31

March

21

31

20

34

37

23

April

22

38

26

26

28

41

May

60

47

55

70

66

65

June

70

80

47

76

52

68

July

60

57

56

48

72

64

August

47

41

52

59

49

51

September

65

52

46

59

53

October

68

46

46

47

65

November

53

33

43

59

67

December

27

36

28

27

33

Total

551

513

474

554

573

371

All incidents of coccidiosis in sheep in Great Britain recorded on VIDA. 2003 to August 2008

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008 (January to August only)

January

7

7

8

9

6

3

February

27

27

14

19

22

5

March

50

67

27

43

26

20

April

34

99

51

97

33

45

May

62

67

64

127

38

51

June

57

36

41

71

31

45

July

17

18

18

14

27

17

August

10

17

11

7

9

5

September

5

5

8

2

3

October

4

1

4

5

3

November

3

1

3

3

1

December

1

1

1

2

0

Total

277

346

250

399

199

191

Note:

England and Wales data were last updated on 4 September 2008, Scotland (and therefore GB) data were last updated on 14 August 2008.

These figures show only the incidents diagnosed as a result of veterinarians submitting samples to these Government laboratories and therefore do not provide an unbiased or comprehensive estimate of the occurrence of the condition in GB. Many factors may influence the likelihood of a farmer/his veterinarian submitting a clinical sample for diagnosis: general economic situation within the sheep and cattle industry, awareness of the disease and its perceived importance, other concurrent priorities, the particular clinical presentation of the suspected disease etc.

All these factors need to be taken into account when interpreting the figures. Changes over time of any of these factors will impact on the observed trends, so caution needs to be exercised when comparing annual figures. Furthermore, and within these limitations, figures in Table 1 only represent incidents where clinical disease was present and could be confirmed with the current testing procedures. The figures therefore are likely to represent a fraction of the total number of animals and farm holdings infected with coccidiosis in GB.