CYPRUS – The confines of the Bluetongue virus (BTV) has been substantially extended eastwards by official confirmation of an outbreak on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.
However, the serotype is currently unknown.
The outbreak is the most south easterly extent of the virus within Europe, south of Turkey, which deployed vaccines to quell the spread from the western region of Kirklarelli this summer.
Cypriot health laboratory testing confirmed positive sub-clinical infections flagged on a cattle farm in the centre of the country.
Six cattle were involved in the outbreak, addressed on 4 December, according to a World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) report.
Commenting on the outbreak, an OIE spokesperson said: “Following the laboratory results, movements from and to the holding were prohibited and clinical examination was carried out to investigate if bluetongue signs were present. During the clinical examination no animals showed any signs.”
Currently, two strains of BTV - serotype one and four – are present on the European continent.
According to OIE surveillance they were separate, serotype one affecting Italy alone and serotype four sweeping through cattle and sheep farms across the Balkans region.
This all changed earlier last month with laboratory confirmation of serotype one and four in Spain.
Soon after, Croatia was confirmed with serotype one, a country previously only hit by the Balkans serotype four strain.
One sheep death resulted from the Croatia outbreak in the Sibensko-Kninska region, in central Croatia.
Further west, Italian BTV has become “sufficiently stable” after being widespread across southern and central regions, spreading from west to east coast from late summer.
Meanwhile, reports from Serbia indicate veterinary authorities have failed to control the virus - a further 173 livestock deaths have been reported this month.
Worst affected recently has been a 220 head sheep farm near the Romanian border in Straza, Juznobanatski in Srbija, which lost 12 sheep from 17 cases. In south east Serbia, a mixed farm lost 15 animals (11 sheep, four goats).
You can visit our Bluetongue information page by clicking here.