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Govt Funds Bluetongue Vaccine Stocks

12 October 2009

SCOTLAND, UK - Farmers are being encouraged to make the most of Scottish Government-funded bluetongue vaccine stocks before their expiration date on 6 November.

Chief Veterinary Officer for Scotland Simon Hall said that the Scottish vaccination campaign, in place since November 2008, has been 'highly successful', and has ensured Scottish livestock have been fully protected against the threat of bluetongue.

Mr Hall said that Bluetongue has the potential to devastate the Scottish farming industry, and urged farmers planning to vaccinate stock in the coming weeks to make the most of the final supplies.

Mr Hall said, "It is crucial that keepers remain vigilant against this serious disease, and continue to vaccinate young animals as they reach eligible age.

"The compulsory vaccination requirements remain in place until October 25. Those considering their vaccination plans following suspension of the compulsory requirements on 25 October should seek advice from their vet."

Livestock keepers are also urged to continue to report any suspicion of bluetongue to their local Animal Health Office, and to source animals responsibly.

A compulsory vaccination campaign is currently in place in Scotland for cattle and sheep. Keepers must ensure full vaccination of their animals by six months of age, or before moving from their premises at over three months of age. Full details of the requirements, including exemptions and conditions, are detailed in the 'Bluetongue Declaration of a Vaccination Zone', which is available on the Scottish Government website.

As announced on 1 September, the compulsory vaccination programme will be suspended on 25 October, moving into the vector free period. After this date keepers may continue to vaccinate their stock on a voluntary basis. The vaccination arrangements for 2010 will be decided by the end of 2009. The decision is dependent on disease developments and surveillance results over the next few months.

The vaccine available at the supported price is BTVPUR AlSap 8, from Merial Animal Health Ltd. It is available in 100ml bottles.

A competitive market in vaccines against bluetongue serotype 8 has now been developed in Great Britain, with a number of brands available from veterinary practices. The Scottish Government will therefore not be placing further orders.


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