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Kate Howell

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Kate HowellNew approaches to diagnosis of Haemophilus parasuis related disease in pigs

Kate Howell - University of Cambridge
Duration - 2011-2014

Kate studied Biology at Imperial College London, and focused on parasitology, epidemiology and bioinformatics. She is now two years into her PhD at the Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge.

Project Aims and Objectives
The investigation of genetic determinants of serotype, as well as possible capsule and lipopolysaccharide modification/variation that would contribute to change of serotype, the identification of putative virulence factors comparing whole genome sequence data of disease-associated and non- associated strains, the development of molecular tests, e.g. PCR, that rapidly detect H. parasuis in field samples, identify the serotype and virulence type of the isolate, and indicate the likely importance of the isolate for the disease and the validation of the newly developed PCR tests using field samples collected from commercial herds.

Potential Benefit to Industry:
This project hopes to provide a new diagnostic with the potential to predict disease causing ability and serotype of a strain of H. parasuis if present. H. parasuis diagnostics are not available in the UK with current serotyping methods being expensive and unreliable. The availability of the information on the strains carried by UK herds would aid in the surveillance of this bacterium and disease, as well as having the potential to inform vets and farmers on vaccination and treatment to deal with outbreaks and prevent the occurance of outbreaks.

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