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Threat of Bluetongue Leaves no Room for Complacency

01 April 2008

UK - There is a growing sense of anxiety on the part of livestock farmers that the Scottish Government is still on the back foot in its approach to bluetongue disease.

This plague of cattle, sheep and goats is spread by midges and has the potential to cause considerable fatalities, especially with sheep.

Bluetongue had never been encountered in Northern Europe until two years ago, but global warming is reckoned to have accelerated its arrival in Germany, France the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Denmark since then.

The first cases in the UK were confirmed in East Anglia last autumn. Since then the disease has been identified in many regions of southern England. Vaccination is seen has the only realistic measure of containing bluetongue, which has the potential to wreak havoc on an even greater scale than the catastrophic epidemic of foot-and-mouth disease during the summer and early autumn of 2001.

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Source: Scotsman


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