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Stackyard News Sep 07

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NFU Scotland Emphasises Need to Control Bluetongue

NFU Scotland is emphasising the need to control Bluetongue to prevent some of the devastating consequences of the disease.

Nigel Millar, NFU Scotland Vice-President

Nigel Millar, NFU Scotland Vice-President

The disease, if it were to take hold, has the potential to devastate GB sheep flocks. European data now suggests that 40 per cent mortality in sheep is possible and that some cattle can also be seriously affected.

It is hoped that because midges can only act as effective transmitters of the disease if the temperature is 15 degrees centigrade or above, a significant spread of the disease in unlikely in 2007, particularly in Scotland, as temperatures cool.

Nigel Millar, NFU Scotland Vice-President, said:

“So far, we have been dealt two positive cards as far as Bluetongue is concerned. Fortunately, is has come quite late on in the year when temperatures are likely to be low enough to prevent it being widely spread. Secondly, the presence of Foot and Mouth restrictions may well have helped to prevent the spread of the disease.

“However, I also have concerns. Defra have so far indicated a rather slow and timid response to the disease. In France, they have adopted a tough cull approach in the initial phase of the disease which, unlike in their neighbouring countries, has controlled its spread.

“Our best chance of control is in these first stages of the disease and we need to see fast action in terms of effective movement controls. I also hope that with some cold temperatures and a lot of luck, Scotland can escape the disease during 2007.

“Without control success south of the border, our only hope could be the vaccine which isn’t going to be available until at least June 2008.”

link Institute for Animal Health Diagnoses Bluetongue in Suffolk
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

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NFU Scotland