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Recent Developments In Europe

19 October 2007

EU - EFSA has carried out a large body of work on Bluetongue in the course of 2007, publishing an epidemiological analysis report and two scientific opinions on the disease.
Given the evolving situation in Europe and the recent outbreaks in the UK, EFSA continues to monitor developments closely and is issuing the below update.

  • EFSA confirms previous advice concerning the need to carry out surveillance of vectors not only for Bluetongue but also for other possible emerging animal diseases. While research funding is in the remit of the European Commission’s DG Research, EFSA has launched a call for a collaborative project on three diseases (two of them transmitted by vectors). It will include the evaluation of the distribution of arthropod vectors in the EU and their potential role in transmitting exotic or emerging vector-borne diseases and zoonoses. This report should be available in the second half of 2008.
  • Rapid access to animal population databases at national level is a key factor to be able to rapidly conduct epidemiological analyses. Such data are useful to understand how the disease has spread and have already assisted EFSA in making an accurate prediction of the area in the UK where the disease would most likely occur owing to wind factors and other criteria.
  • EFSA maintains that fighting against Bluetongue through the use of vaccines (preferably inactivated) is a priority and that measures to stimulate the development of these vaccines should be encouraged. The approval of such vaccines is within the remit of the European Medicines Agency (EMEA).
  • Based on the recent developments in the epidemiology of Bluetongue in Europe and changes in climatic conditions, the use of effective insecticides and other preventive measures at ports of entry into Europe should be considered. The same is true for trade of animals between infected areas and Bluetongue-free areas in Europe.
  • EFSA’s opinions and epidemiological report have provided significant input to the European Commission (DG SANCO) and the Member States in support of risk management measures in relation to Bluetongue. Further information on Community measures to control and eradicate Bluetongue is available on the Europa website.
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