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Rotterdam trip, April 2024

Representatives from all VB-RADAR collaborative institutions jumped on the Eurostar to Rotterdam to discuss surveillance and impact of zoonotic flaviviruses where wild birds are a primary host. We got to share the current UK USUV data and catch up on how active bird surveillance and analysis is undertaken in the Netherlands (a programme that has been running for 8+ years now)

Following a day of talks and lab tours we headed out at the break of dawn to meet bird ringers in Utrecht, a group who undertake sampling for flaviviruses. We got to see first hand how birds are selected, appropriately sampled and released, all while having the highest concern for animal welfare. Overall we had a fantastic trip and come back informed, potential collaborations on the horizon and excited to start sampling wild passerines in the UK for the project.   

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Project licence approval, December 2023

Pleased to report that our application for a project licence to sample a subset of wild birds in the UK has been approved by the home office, and we plan to be in the field from next March!

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GWH fun and overwintering mosquitoes, winter 2023

All founding members of VB RADAR got to say hello over great coffee and even better science at the Garden Wildlife Health 10 year meeting, held at ZSL London. During November and December we have also been out trying to catch overwintering female mosquitoes to see if they can provide any insights into how mosquito-borne viruses survive the winter!

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VB-RADAR at the BVZS annual meeting, Nov 2023

David and Becki attended the recent British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS) annual conference held in Birmingham, UK. A really useful forum in which to promote the project during the Saturday poster session and engage with practicing wildlife and zoo veterinarians. For anyone interested the poster is now on the gallery section of the website.  We also  have a 'contact' section on the website so please feel free to reach out to the VB-RADAR team if you have any questions about the project!

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Phase two is underway, October 2023

Really happy to announce that Dr Calam Bruce and David I. Lewis have joined the VB-RADAR team as APHA research associate and IoZ wildlife veterinarian, respectively. They have wasted no time in successfully passing their PiL courses and we hope to submit the project licence application before the end of the year. The team at UKHSA have delivered over 5,000 mosquitoes (with a further 3,000 en route) for molecular analysis, which have been collected from across the south of England.

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New position advertised, July 2023

The next job linked to VB RADAR is up, we are looking for a wildlife veterinarian who is interested in vector-borne diseases and wild bird health to be based at the Institute of Zoology (closing date 13th August).

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Outreach and jobs, May 2023

The VB RADAR team contributed to a workshop to assess what a UK datahub for vector-borne disease should look like, chaired by BBSRC and staff at Imperial College/ London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

We now have an active twitter account (@vb_radar) and the research position at APHA has been advertised (closing date June 11th). Please keep an eye out, as other posts linked to the grant will be advertised soon.

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Mosquito magnets established, May 2023

Colleagues at UKHSA have set up mosquito traps and provided guidance for staff at bird observatories along the south coast of England. These are operational, and the first tranche of mosquitoes for molecular testing are set to arrive at the APHA in the coming weeks. 

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VB RADAR gets funding! April 2023 

After a lot of hard work, meetings, late nights and coffee, we received the exciting news that VB RADAR would be one of eight projects to be funded by the joint UKRI/Defra One-Health approach to Vector-borne disease call. Original UKRI press release here, APHA led press release here

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