Farmers warned of surge in bluetongue cases

UK - Farmers have been warned to expect "significant numbers" of new cases of bluetongue disease as the deputy chief veterinary officer declared an outbreak of the virus in the UK.
calendar icon 29 September 2007
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Fred Landeg confirmed that the virus was "circulating" between livestock and midges, and admitted that with no cure and no vaccination available farmers faced months of disruption from livestock movement restrictions.

The National Farmers' Union said that, while not unexpected, the news was a "bitter blow" to the livestock industry, which must now cope with simultaneous outbreaks of bluetongue and foot and mouth disease.

So far, five animals on farms in Suffolk have been diagnosed with bluetongue, which is thought to have come to the UK via midges blown across the Channel from northern Europe, where thousands of cattle and sheep have been affected.

Although all five animals were culled, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said no more compulsory culling would take place, as bluetongue was spread by midges, rather than between farm animals, and there was no risk to human health.

Source: Daily Telegraph
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