Renewed pleas for vigilance have been made today (13 November) after a case of the bluetongue virus (BTV) was detected on a farm in Kent.
A single cow was confirmed to have tested positive for the BTV-3 strain on Saturday 11 November. A 10km control zone has been set up around the affected premises, near Canterbury.
The case is believed to be the first of the disease to be confirmed in Great Britain since 2007, and follows increasing concern in recent weeks about its spread across Europe.
The UK’s CVO, Christine Middlemiss, said: “Bluetongue does not pose a threat to human health or food safety, but the disease can impact livestock farms and cause productivity issues.
“This detection is an example of our robust disease surveillance procedures in action and it is also a clear reminder for farmers that the disease remains a threat, despite coming towards the end of the midge activity season.
“Farmers must remain vigilant and report any suspicions to APHA.”
Defra’s latest published assessment of the situation, dating from 18 October, reported more than 2,000 confirmed BTV-3 cases in the Netherlands, plus more than 600 in France.
Single BTV-3 cases have also been recorded in both Belgium and Germany, in areas close to their borders with the Netherlands, while a new BTV-8 strain is now believed to be circulating in southern France.
Restrictions on the movement of livestock into Great Britain from all four of those countries currently apply and the risk of the virus spreading here has been assessed as medium, largely based on the windborne movement of infected midges and undetected spread to other areas of trade where no restrictions currently apply.
Although the midges are most active between April and November, there is particularly acute concern about the BTV-3 strain, for which there is currently no effective vaccine.
Credit to: Plea for vigilance after Kent bluetongue case (Vet Times)
Vet Times. (2023). Plea for vigilance after Kent bluetongue case [online]
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