New app-based, artificial intelligence fluke test to tackle £300 million UK losses - Veterinary Practice
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New app-based, artificial intelligence fluke test to tackle £300 million UK losses

Micron Agritech, the Dublin-based agricultural technology company, has announced the launch of its artificial intelligence-based rapid fluke test

Designed to transform how veterinarians, SQPs and farmers monitor and manage fluke disease, this breakthrough solution by Micron Agritech builds upon the success of the Micron Kit, enabling users to rapidly detect liver and rumen fluke infections on-site and within minutes, all with their mobile phones.

Globally, rumen and liver fluke infections cause significant hardship to livestock, resulting in economic losses and adverse effects on animal health.

Liver fluke disease, in particular, poses a substantial global economic burden, with an estimated cost to the UK of at least £300 million annually. These economic losses primarily stem from a notable reduction in meat and milk production attributed to liver fluke infections.

The impact of liver fluke on livestock productivity is significant. Depending on the degree of infection, it can result in:

  • A reduced meat production of up to 20 percent in cattle and up to 30 percent in sheep, with affected beef cattle requiring up to an additional 80 days to reach market weights
  • A decrease in milk production of up to 15 percent in dairy cattle
  • Impaired fertility in affected animals
  • Up to 50 percent of infected livers are condemned at meat plants
  • Due to severe anaemia, increased mortality rates, particularly among young animals like lambs
  • Emerging evidence suggests that liver fluke infections may exacerbate other infectious diseases, such as salmonellosis and tuberculosis

The prevalence of liver fluke infection has surged significantly, with reports indicating up to a 12-fold increase in certain EU Member States in recent years.These statistics underscore the critical need for innovative solutions to address the pressing challenges of fluke infections in livestock and the agricultural sector.

The Micron Kit Fluke Test addresses these global challenges head-on.

With sample preparation completed in just minutes and samples analysed automatically through advanced AI algorithms, results are received in near real-time, allowing farmers, veterinarians and SQPs to take rapid action.

This capability makes targeting treatments possible, making fluke monitoring more accessible than ever before and reducing the reliance on medication, ultimately also contributing to the fight against anthelmintic resistance on a global scale.

With the Micron Kit Fluke Test, veterinarians and SQPs are now able to test for both Calicophoron Daubneyi (rumen fluke) and Fasciola Hepatica (liver fluke) in addition to the existing FEC GI worm testing available through the VetQAS proficiency tested Micron Kit app and platform.

Daniel Izquierdo Hijazi, CEO of Micron Agritech, stated, “We are excited to introduce our Fluke Test as a game-changing addition to the Micron Kit animal health platform.

“The global statistics speak for themselves; the economic impact of fluke infections is profound and affects animal health worldwide. Our innovation is not just about convenience but about preserving the health of livestock on a global scale.”

Tara McElligott, R&D Director at Micron Agritech, added, “Our Fluke Test is a testament to the power of technology in animal health. It combines the convenience of on-site testing with the speed and accuracy of artificial intelligence, enabling targeted interventions.

“This is a significant step forward in ensuring the well-being of livestock and the quality of the global food supply chain.”

The Micron Kit is distributed in the UK by Bimeda, and Mark Cokayne, General Manager UK (Bimeda) states: “The Micron Kit has already proved incredibly popular with our customers due to the speed, ease of use and cost effectiveness of the FEC test.

“The ability to now also test for rumen and liver fluke is a big step forward in helping to manage this costly disease.”

Fluke infections have long been a concern for farmers and public health officials worldwide, and the global economic impact cannot be overstated.

The Micron Kit Fluke Test addresses these challenges and aligns with international efforts to combat anthelmintic resistance and improve animal health.

As the Micron Kit now offers both fluke and worm FEC (faecal egg count) tests, farmers and veterinarians have a comprehensive tool to manage parasitic infections and animal treatment.

Micron Agritech’s commitment to enhancing animal health and sustainability has garnered substantial support.

With a recent investment from ACT VC, Atlantic Bridge, Yield Lab Europe, and other partners, the company is well-positioned to expand its presence globally, bringing cutting-edge technology to veterinarians, SQPs, animal owners and farmers worldwide.

The launch of the Micron Kit Fluke Test marks a significant milestone in the journey to transform global animal health management, safeguarding not only the well-being of livestock but also the limited arsenal of anthelmintic medication at our disposal.

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