The EU today agreed trade restrictions to control of the spread
of Bluetongue following positive laboratory tests results for
All exports of cattle, sheep and deer from Belgium and the affected
regions of the Netherlands and Germany will be prevented. In addition
the countries have imposed Protection zones and Surveillance Zones
around the infected farms.
Bluetongue does not affect humans, but is highly infectious in
sheep. The virus is known to occur in Mediterranean EU countries,
but it is thought that the warm weather this summer has allowed
the biting midges which transmit the disease to survive further
Defra has also announced today testing and additional surveillance
on all recent imports from affected countries into the UK. Debby
Reynolds, Chief Veterinary Officer for the UK has urged sheep and
cattle keepers to remain vigilant for the signs of the disease,
and take biosecurity measures.
“These cases of Bluetongue are a significant development
for farming in North West Europe. Anyone who keeps sheep, cattle,
deer and goats should be on the alert for abnormal behaviour or
illness and report it to the State Veterinary Service. There is
also an obligation to report recent imports of animals to the UK.
"This is normally considered to be a disease which mainly
affects sheep, but unusually we have received reports of cattle
displaying signs of illness.”
- The disease is characterised by fever that may last for several
days. Increased respiration and hyperaemia of the lips, mucous
linings of the mouth and nose and eyelids, accompanied by excess
salivation and frothing follow this. Nasal discharges are common.
There is sometimes oedema (abnormal swelling) of the head and neck.
The hyperaemia and oedema may result in lameness. Animals can lose
condition rapidly, including muscle degeneration. Infection during
pregnancy may result in abortions and congenital abnormalities.
Bluetongue disease confirmed in
Belgium and Germany
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