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Stackyard News Sep 07

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Institute for Animal Health Diagnoses Bluetongue in Suffolk

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.

photo courtesy


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.

link UK Cattle Industry Beware the Blue Tongue threat
link Cattle Industry urged to be vigilant in keeping Bluetongue out
link Bluetongue virus in the Netherlands identified as serotype 8 by IAH
link Bluetongue prevention measures stepped up
link Bluetongue disease confirmed in Belgium and Germany

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IAH Pirbright