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New Advances in Understanding of Parasite Risk Showcased at CVBD World Forum

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 Press Release J E 4
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MONHEIM, Germany, July 28, 2010

- Studies Reveal Impact and Spread of CVBDs Worldwide

Fascinating studies giving new insights into the spread of leishmaniosisin the UK and France, the appearance of new CVBDs in Germany, the state ofheartworm infection in Korea and the neurological impact on humans oflong-term bartonella infection from the USA are among the papers nowavailable for download from http://www.cvbd.org, as the proceedings of the5th Annual Canine Vector Borne Disease (CVBD) World Forum are made availableonline today.

The recent changes in travel restrictions between the UK and continentalEurope coupled with increases in average temperatures in the UK havepotentially dramatically lowered the barriers to new CVBDs entering the UK.The risk of one of these diseases, leishmaniosis, has been studied by theteam led by Dr Susan Shaw, University of Bristol, UK, who presented theirfindings at the CVBD meeting in New York. Dr Shaw reported on an in-depthstudy of 257 dogs diagnosed in the UK with confirmed leishmaniosis between2005 and 2007. However, her laboratory has dealt with over 900 cases since2000 when the PETS travel scheme was initiated. This is a significantincrease from previous studies and a number which they believe to beunderestimated based on lack of awareness of the symptomatology in clinicalcases and the number of sub-clinically infected dogs entering the UK.According to Dr Shaw, "This increased prevalence raises the very realprospect of leishmaniosis becoming established in the UK if the sand flyvector appears in this country. Indeed, there is a worrying possibility thatthere is already transmission occurring in the UK, as a number of dogs in ourstudy had no history of travel outside the UK at all." More information on DrShaw's study can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2009.03.025.

Further evidence of the risk posed by the movement of dogs within Europewas presented by Dr Torsten Naucke. Dr Naucke's study looked at more than4,500 dogs imported into Germany, and found that nearly one in four (23.4%)were infected with babesiosis, and more than one in ten were infected withleishmaniosis (12.2%) and ehrlichiosis (10.1%). According to Dr Naucke,"Based on these findings the importation of dogs from endemic regions toGermany, as well as travelling with dogs to these regions carries asignificant risk of acquiring an infection. We would recommend that petowners seek the advice of their veterinarians prior to importing a dog froman endemic area or travel to such areas." For more information on Dr Naucke'sfinding, visithttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2857866/?tool=pubmed

Dr Jean-Pierre Dedet shared his group's work on developing the first riskmap for canine leishmaniosis in France. Having studied more than 40 years ofrecords, the group was able to establish the major areas of endemicity inFrance. The largest cluster was found in the southern slopes of the CevennesMountains and two regions of the Provence and Maritime Alps; a small reducedcluster was found in the North West of France around Tours. Based on theenvironment in which these clusters were found, the team led by Dr Dedet hasbeen able, for the first time, to develop a model showing which areas ofFrance are most at risk of leishmaniosis, allowing veterinarians and petowners to better understand the risks faced by dogs, and to take appropriatepreventative measures. For more information on the study and risk map, go tohttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2857865/?tool=pubmed

Away from Europe, Professor SungShik Shin of Chonnam National University,Korea, led a study looking at the levels of CVBDs in both rural and urbandogs in Korea, an area that has been little studied in the past. This studylooked at hunting dogs in the countryside, and found that more than two infive dogs (40.6%) tested positive for a CVBD. The most common CVBD amongthese dogs was heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis), with a remarkable 22.3% ofworking dogs testing positive. The other three CVBDs tested for were alsonotably common, with Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Ehrlichia canis, and Borreliaburgdorferi infection levels of 18.8%, 6.1% and 2.2% respectively. When theylooked at urban dogs, the picture was markedly different, with only cases ofheartworm being found; however the levels of heartworm were nearly as high inthis population as in the rural population at around one in seven dogs(14.6%).

Finally, Dr Edward Breitschwerdt of North Carolina State University, USA,presented a case of bartonella infection in a father and daughter from theUSA. This case involved a veterinarian who developed a number of chronicsymptoms over a period of years, including arthralgia, progressive weightloss, muscle weakness and lack of coordination. His daughter had recentlyalso developed headaches, muscle pain and insomnia. On investigation, thefather and daughter were found to be infected with one species and onesub-species of bartonella which, after extended treatment were eventuallyeliminated, leading to complete remission of symptoms. "These two casesdemonstrate the very real threat posed to humans by CVBDs. It's all too easyto forget that there are many of these diseases that, while not common inhumans, can cause significant suffering and even death. It's in part becauseof this risk to humans that I would encourage all veterinarians to ensurethey are educated on the symptoms of CVBDs in dogs, as it is only byprotecting dogs that we can protect ourselves," said Dr Breitschwerdt.

The proceedings include all the presentations given at the 5th CVBD WorldForum in New York, sponsored Bayer Animal Health, where leading experts inCVBDs from around the world met to share the latest research on theseimportant diseases. Sarah Weston of Bayer Animal Health spoke of the CVBDWorld Forum, "The CVBD World Forum is another example of Bayer Animal Healthdelivering on our commitment to improving the understanding and treatment ofCVBDs. As we have seen at this meeting, this is an area where knowledge isstill rapidly expanding, and we are proud to play our part in helping tobring people together to share information and develop new approaches to thestudy and prevention of CVBDs".

About CVBDs

For more information about CVBDs, visit http://www.CVBD.org

About Bayer HealthCare

Bayer HealthCare, a subsidiary of Bayer AG, is one of the world'sleading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products industryand is based in Leverkusen, Germany. The company combines the globalactivities of the Animal Health, Bayer Schering Pharma, Consumer Care andMedical Care divisions. Bayer HealthCare's aim is to discover and manufactureproducts that will improve human and animal health worldwide. Find moreinformation at http://www.bayerhealthcare.com.

With a turnover of EUR977 million (2009) Bayer HealthCare's Animal HealthDivision is one of the world's leading manufacturers of veterinary drugs. Thedivision manufactures and markets more than 100 different veterinary drugsand care products for livestock and companion animals.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements based on currentassumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group management. Various known andunknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to materialdifferences between the actual future results, financial situation,development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. Thesefactors include those discussed in our annual and interim reports to theFrankfurt Stock Exchange and in our reports filed with the U.S. Securitiesand Exchange Commission (including our Form 20-F). The company assumes noliability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to confirmthem to future events or developments.Contact: Kathrin Stat +49(0)2173-38-4019 kathrin.statz@bayerhealthcare.com

SOURCE Bayer HealthCare
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