Tests done at the Institute for Animal Health's Pirbright Laboratory
during late Friday night (21-22 September) have confirmed that
a cow in Suffolk has been exposed to bluetongue virus, cause
of the disease bluetongue.
The animal had been exhibiting symptoms consistent with that disease,
although diagnosis could not be made on symptoms alone as these
are also common to other diseases. The UK farming community has
been bracing itself for a bluetongue outbreak ever since bluetongue
came to northern Europe for the first time in 2006, diagnosed by
IAH. Tests and expertise that have been developed for many years
at IAH Pirbright are being brought to bear on the outbreak, the
first record of bluetongue virus in the UK.
A blood sample was sent from Suffolk to the Institute for Animal
Health, where it was received during the night. Immediately IAH
scientists set up tests, looking both for antibodies against bluetongue
virus, and for the genetic material (RNA) of the virus (using the
polymerase chain reaction test, PCR). The results, reported to
Defra, were positive for both tests.
More samples from animals on the farm and neighbouring premises
will be received by IAH Pirbright Laboratory during late Saturday
night, for immediate testing.
British flocks and herds are totally susceptible to bluetongue.
UK Cattle Industry Beware the Blue Tongue threat
Cattle Industry urged to be vigilant in keeping Bluetongue out
Bluetongue virus in the Netherlands identified as serotype 8 by IAH
Bluetongue prevention measures stepped
Bluetongue disease confirmed in
Belgium and Germany