Monday - January 28, 2019

Bayer supports infectious disease surveillance program for companion animals in Africa

Bayer is the major sponsor of an African infectious disease surveillance program aimed at providing novel data on the prevalence and distribution of ectoparasites and arthropod-borne infectious diseases in dogs and cats / This study will produce an extensive database and valuable biobank of samples for future research / The new AFSCAN project will provide disease distribution maps for Africa, giving veterinary practitioners a valuable tool for control and prevention of these diseases
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Members of the scientific project team, from left to right: Dr Tayebwa Dickson (Uganda), Dr Ortwin Aschenborn (Namibia), Dr Foluke Adedayo Akande (Nigeria), Emeritus Professor Michael J. Day (UK, Project Leader), Dr Sherry Johnson (Ghana), Dr Jahashi Nzalawahe (Tanzania) and Professor Samuel Githigia (Kenya).

Monheim, January 28, 2019 – The African Small Companion Animal Network (AFSCAN), a project of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s (WSAVA) charitable foundation, has launched a significant new sub-Saharan infectious disease surveillance program. With Bayer Animal Health as the major sponsor, the program will provide novel data on the prevalence and distribution of ectoparasites and arthropod-borne infectious diseases of dogs and cats across six sub-Saharan African countries and will run throughout 2019.

“We are very grateful to Bayer Animal Health for providing this exciting opportunity for the African companion animal veterinary community”, commented Emeritus Professor Michael J. Day, the project leader and a member of the AFSCAN and WSAVA Foundation Boards and WSAVA Honorary Treasurer. “There is almost no fundamental knowledge about the most important arthropod-borne infectious diseases in dogs and cats in Africa, some of which are zoonotic in nature.”

As a world leader in parasiticides, Bayer has continuously invested in research into vector-borne diseases to help protect dogs and cats around the world from these infections. Increasing research output, facilitated by expert groups such as the Companion Vector Borne Diseases (CVBD) World Forum, has led to the development of distribution and prevalence data for companion animal ectoparasites and CVBDs in many parts of the world, including North America and Europe. However, approximately 25% of the world’s population lives on the African continent. According to WSAVA, there is a major knowledge gap, particularly for the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“This study will help us strenghten our knowledge in this region”, said Dr. Markus Edingloh, Head of Global Veterinary Scientific Affairs at Bayer Animal Health. “Arthropod-borne infectious diseases are serious conditions that can be transmitted to both humans and animals. It is vital for veterinary practitioners to be equipped with the latest data to prescribe appropriate prevention to support the health and well-being of companion animals.”

The infectious disease surveillance project will be undertaken by a team of six veterinary parasitologists from the participating countries: Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Namibia, Tanzania and Uganda. Each country will provide samples from 100 dogs and 50 cats from urban and rural locations in each of two different geographical regions. Sample collection will be coupled with a local rabies vaccination and an ectoparasite preventive campaign coordinated by the investigator.

Emeritus Professor Day is convinced that the study will not only produce an extensive database and valuable biobank of samples for future research, but also a real added value for the veterinarians. “This project will provide disease distribution maps for Africa, helping veterinarians to manage the control and prevention of these infections in veterinary practice.”

To find out more about the infectious disease surveillance program for companion animals in Africa please visit: http://afscan.org Veterinarians can view the latest knowledge on CVBDs at: www.CVBD.org.

About Companion Vector-Borne Diseases (CVBD)
Companion vector-borne diseases (CVBDs) are a growing international public health threat. These diseases are transmitted by blood-feeding ectoparasites, including ticks (e.g. Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis), fleas (e.g. canine bartonellosis and feline rickettsiosis), and sand flies (leishmaniosis). They are known to veterinarians and public health professionals throughout the world and in some cases have also shown zoonotic consequences.

About African Small Companion Animal Network (AFSCAN)
The WSAVA Foundation’s AFSCAN initiative is working to advance standards of veterinary care across Africa through education and through facilitating the creation of a sustainable network of companion animal veterinarians, associations and specialist groups in Sub-Saharan Africa.

About Bayer
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2017, the Group employed around 99,800 people and had sales of 35.0 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.4 billion euros, R&D expenses to 4.5 billion euros. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

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