Chelonian Infectious Agents - from Stuart Macarthur

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Re: Chelonian Infectious Agents - from Stuart Macarthur

Postby Eversfield » Wed May 11, 2011 9:59 am

Tortoise Trust wrote:
Eversfield wrote:If the forum members choose to hold opinions and can present them in a credible manner then that should be accepted as an alternative view.
For the record, the events page of the British Chelonia Group details further such "Check up" meetings, and as stated earlier the vast majority have already taken place this spring as they are usually held for the most part prior to Easter.
Furthermore, in the latest issue of the Practical Reptile Keeping Magazine, a very widely read monthly magazine there is not only a very good article on Captive maintenance of Hermann's Tortoise, but also a half page piece on "The North West Tortoise event" which we are told attracts up to 500 members of the public on May 21st in Cheshire.
Are you to criticise these as well :?:



You bet. All equally reckless. I suggest people go away and read a very good book on the early days of the AIDS epidemic. It is called "And The Band Played On". Written by Randy Shilts (who subsequently died of the condition). It documents in detail how complacency, indifference, self-interest and denial allowed the disease to amplify dramatically. It is a very revealing text on the mentality of people when faced with facts they find inconvenient. Rather than take effective action before it is too late, they deny or minimise the threat, and attack those who do perceive a danger and try to warn them. It is exactly the same with these reptile diseases. Too many vested interests in holding expos, fairs and "health checks". Meanwhile, diseases that were not an issue 30 years ago are now spreading like wildfire - while those involved (and contributing) to their spread turn a blind eye and pretend the problem does not exist. Sheer madness in my view, but there you go... I have been saying that for years. Fortunately some do take notice. Others have failed to do so and now rue the consequences. Others have yet to wake up to the scale of the problem.

The BCG has a long history of denying this problem exists. It is all on the record, and a pretty shameful one at that. Try telling some of the people who have lost their entire collections that a "pile of corpses" is a wild exaggeration....

One single case only 2 years ago (in the UK) resulted in over 200 dead.

A big enough pile for you, Paul?

Anyway - it is perfectly clear you have no intention of taking any of this on board and seem intent of defending (and ignoring) some truly dire practices.

Those foolish enough to believe you may end up paying a price far higher than they ever expected.

Far from ignoring the subject, the BCG has in the last two Symposia held at Milton Keynes and Chester Zoo invited very well respect Veterinarians to make presentations on this subject. Myself and a good number of Chelonian hobbyists, including a few from this very forum attended these. The extract of those presentation will I suspect be published in the forthcoming Journal "Testudo" sent regularly to paid up members of the British Chelonia Group. In addition, a further excellent presentation was given by the very well known Chelonian Vet Lynne Stokes on the subject to the local regional group JMAMT, again a good number of forum members attended this too.
In consequence, I consider those individuals and others whom attended highly responsible and are expending their time in learming more about this subject.
The term foolish, used again so freely by yourself is an opinion which others may choose not to agree with?
Paul Eversfield
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Re: Chelonian Infectious Agents - from Stuart Macarthur

Postby Tortoise Trust » Wed May 11, 2011 10:14 am

One final point. When I refer to "vested interests" I specifically mean:

1) Breeders who have outbreaks, for obvious reasons, often try to keep it quiet.
2) Ditto importers/dealers.
3) Many private keepers also do not exactly advertise that this has happened to them as they often end up getting attacked on "reptile forums" by those eager to point the finger...
4) Some tortoise and reptile societies also find that holding meetings with animals is a big "draw" and very beneficial to donations and membership... so they are not inclined to face up to the problem, either.

So... deny the scale of the problem and hope it goes away.

It won't.

Meanwhile, infection rates are constantly increasing.

By "ignoring" it - I specifically meant carrying on with practices that actively contribute to the spread of such diseases, not the (very belated) technical discussion of it... this has been known about now for over two decades!
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Re: Chelonian Infectious Agents - from Stuart Macarthur

Postby Tortoise Trust » Wed May 11, 2011 12:53 pm

It really would be nice to get a reply to the very straightforward question of whether the Three Counties Tortoise Society intends to continue with these "health checks" even in the face of evidence that their disinfection and disease control protocols would be a total waste of time should a tortoise carrying one of these highly contagious diseases turn up?

Incidentally... contrary to the view advanced by Paul that we are "exaggerating" the risk, our work in this field has been widely recognised and cited for years. For example, in the highly respected Journal of Wildlife Diseases:

http://www.jwildlifedis.org/cgi/reprint/34/3/487.pdf

We have continued to take a serious interest in this topic ever since and have funded multiple laboratory and pathological studies over the past 20 years. I would also point out that the article we originally published in 1990 with the deliberately provocative title "Is There a Tortoise AIDS in our midst" has been proven largely correct. The same article identified wild-caught T. ibera from Turkey as the most likely (then) vector for introducing a chelonian-specific virus into the UK. This has also been verified in subsequent studies.
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Re: Chelonian Infectious Agents - from Stuart Macarthur

Postby Brenda Vernon » Wed May 11, 2011 1:56 pm

I would also like to know if the Tamworth and District Tortoise society are aware of the risk they taking at their meeting this Saturday. No one has replied to my email asking what precautions they take to prevent the spread of disease
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Re: Chelonian Infectious Agents - from Stuart Macarthur

Postby Eversfield » Wed May 11, 2011 3:03 pm

Brenda Vernon wrote:I would also like to know if the Tamworth and District Tortoise society are aware of the risk they taking at their meeting this Saturday. No one has replied to my email asking what precautions they take to prevent the spread of disease
Brenda

Have you tried Writing a polite request?
The Tamworth & District Tortoise Society are holding their annual Tortoise Health Check on Saturday, 14th May, 2011 at No Man’s Heath Village Hall, No Man’s Heath, nr Tamworth, commencing at 11 am through to 4 pm.
Free tortoise weigh-in and advice. Refreshments available (for a small charge). Free parking.
Why not bring your tortoise along? All Welcome. For further information phone/fax 01827 700227 or e-mail tamtort@ntlworld.com
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Re: Chelonian Infectious Agents - from Stuart Macarthur

Postby Brenda Vernon » Wed May 11, 2011 5:08 pm

I sent a polite e-mail and have had no reply. I have no address to write a letter. There is no way I would take my torts to this meeting. Why would I want to put them in a high risk situation: They have never even met each other!
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Re: Chelonian Infectious Agents - from Stuart Macarthur

Postby Tortoise Trust » Tue May 17, 2011 7:26 am

Brenda,

Did you ever get a satisfactory reply from these people?
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Re: Chelonian Infectious Agents - from Stuart Macarthur

Postby Eversfield » Tue May 17, 2011 8:01 am

Kevin Eatwell, recently sent me a copy of the published " Veterinary guidelines on physical examination of a Tortoise and biosecurity measures for a Tortoise weigh in". Written by:
Kevin Eatwell
BVSc (hons) DZooMed (Reptilian) Dip ECZM (Herp) MRCVS
RCVS recognised specialist in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
European Recognised Veterinary Specialist in Zoological Medicine (Herpetological)
Lecturer in Exotic Animal and Wildlife Medicine
Veterinary Wound library Clinical Advisory Panel Member
Veterinary advisor to the Budgerigar Society
Advisor to the Ferret Education and Research Trust
Veterinary Advisor to the Tortoise Protection Group
British Chelonia Group Veterinary Liaison Officer
Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
University of Edinburgh
Hospital for Small Animals
Easter Bush Veterinary Centre

I was pleased to recieve these, as they confirmed the protocols have been adopted by at least some of the regional Tortoise groups when they undertake their own events.
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Re: Chelonian Infectious Agents - from Stuart Macarthur

Postby Jonesy » Tue May 17, 2011 8:04 am

would it be possible for us to see this Paul?
thanks
Linda

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Re: Chelonian Infectious Agents - from Stuart Macarthur

Postby Eversfield » Tue May 17, 2011 8:08 am

Jonesy wrote:would it be possible for us to see this Paul?
thanks

If you PM your email address to me, I am happy to share it with you?
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