Alternative approaches to control-Quo vadit?

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The increasing prevalence of anthelmintic resistance has provided a spur for research into 'alternative/novel' approaches to the control of helminthoses that are intended to reduce our reliance upon using chemoprophylaxis. The different approaches either target the parasite population in the host or on pasture, but the goal of all of them is to restrict host parasite contact to levels which minimise the impact of helminths on host welfare and/or performance. Infrapopulation regulation can be achieved through methods that enhance immunity such as optimised nutrition (immunonutrition), genetic selection and vaccination, or by an 'anthelmintic' route using bioactive forages, copper oxide wire particles, or use of targeted selective treatment strategies such as FAMACHA©, which reduce the selection pressure for the development of resistance by maintaining a population in refugia. Suprapopulation control can be achieved through grazing management, or by using predacious fungi such as Duddingtonia flagrans. All of these approaches have been developed beyond the proof of concept stage and some are capable of being employed currently. However, some still require knowledge transfer, or commercialisation before they can be tested and widely applied in the field. All of the different approaches present unique challenges to the researchers engaged in developing them, and in comparison to simple prescriptive anthelmintic treatments, their use appears complex and requires some expertise on behalf of the advisor and/or end user. At present, most of our data are derived from trials using single approaches, but it is apparent that we need to move towards integrating some of these technologies which again represents a further challenge to the extension/advisory services. Progress in establishing different approaches requires not only the funding to support their scientific development but also to support the development of computer based models which can be used to highlight deficiencies in our understanding of the control mechanisms and to identify impediments to their introduction. It is inevitable that some of the approaches currently under investigation will fail to become widely applied for a variety of reasons that are not solely financial. These include issues concerned with practicability/applicability, affordability/appropriateness, availability/deliverability and above all, the failure to provide a consistent, reliable effect when used under commercial farming conditions. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Veterinary Parasitology

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