Another Bluetongue Case – But Foot-and-Mouth Controls Eased

UK - A fifth cow was confirmed with bluetongue disease in Suffolk yesterday, sparking fears that the Government is about to declare an official outbreak of the disease – but there was better news for the livestock industry with the news that auctions and markets can resume in low-risk foot-and-mouth areas in England, Scotland and Wales next Thursday.
calendar icon 28 September 2007
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"Obviously we must face the very real risk that bluetongue could already be actively circulating in this country."

Debby Reynolds, the Chief Veterinary Officer

Farmers have been desperate to get their trading season under way and in Scotland they have proposed incinerating thousands of lambs trapped in upland areas by strict movement controls and a ban on sales.

The move to resume trading will also help to relieve severe welfare difficulties being experienced on many upland farms. It paves the way for exports from low-risk areas to the Continent, possibly by mid-October.

Debby Reynolds, the Chief Veterinary Officer, said that she had reported the bluetongue cases on four farms in Suffolk to the World Organisation for Animal Health. It is understood that there is some dispute among international experts on the definition of an outbreak and Britain might be following a different interpretation of the rules from other countries. As reported in The Times yesterday farmers’ leaders were convinced that this was the first outbreak of the virus and it would only be a matter of time before an official declaration.

Dr Reynolds stopped short of confirming an outbreak. She said: “Obviously we must face the very real risk that bluetongue could already be actively circulating in this country. It will be some time before we have the scientific evidence to confirm whether or not this is the case.”

The fifth case is at Burstall, Suffolk. But government veterinary scientists believe the disease could also be found in Norfolk and Essex; farmers in these counties have been banned from moving their animals.

Source: Times Online

Further Reading

       - Find out more information on bluetongue by clicking here.
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