Bluetongue Outbreak Confirmed In East Anglia

EAST ANGLIA - Defra has today confirmed that Bluetongue disease is circulating in East Anglia. This follows further epidemiological investigations including surveillance into the five cases identified so far in Suffolk, which has led to the conclusion that the virus is circulating between the local animal and midge population.
calendar icon 28 September 2007
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Bluetongue is a disease of ruminant animals, including cattle, sheep and deer. In line with the UK Bluetongue Control Strategy and European law, a 20km Control Zone is being put in place around the area in East Anglia where cases have been identified to date. Ruminant animals will be able to move within the Bluetongue Control Zone, but not out of it, except to slaughter in the Bluetongue Protection Zone.

In addition, a 150km Bluetongue Protection Zone covering parts of the counties from Lincolnshire to Sussex will be put in place. Ruminant animals will be able to move within the Bluetongue Protection Zone but not out of it.

These Bluetongue zones will replace the Bluetongue Temporary Control Area set up on 25 September.

Foot and Mouth Disease controls remain firmly in place on all FMD susceptible animals, including pigs, in the FMD Low Risk and Risk Areas.

This reflects our integrated approach to movement controls for both FMD and Bluetongue. Further changes to movement controls, including movements from the Bluetongue zones for slaughter will be assessed on the basis of risk.

In some areas, movements of susceptible animals will be subject to both Bluetongue controls and FMD controls. Farmers must check that all licence conditions are complied with before making arrangements to move animals.

Secretary of State for Defra, Hilary Benn said:

“This is clearly very bad news for the farming industry. Our priority is to do everything we can to contain this outbreak which is why we already had in place precautionary restrictions and have today announced further measures. We are determined to continue to work closely with the farming industry and the farmers affected for whom this is a very difficult time. “

Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, Fred Landeg said:

“Examination of the latest emerging evidence has led to the conclusion that the Bluetongue virus is now circulating between the local midge and animal populations. We are acutely aware of the impact this and the associated control measures will have, but the decision to confirm an outbreak has not been taken lightly.

“Bluetongue is spread via midge vectors, rather than animal to animal. This means animals infected with Bluetongue will not be compulsorily slaughtered from now on. There is no vaccine currently available, however we will consider vaccination in the event that a suitable authorised inactivated vaccine becomes available.”

TheCattleSite News Desk

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