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UK: Bluetongue detected in County Durham

O0ndon (DEFRA) – Defra today announced the detection of Bluetongue in 18 imported cattle on premises near Bishop Auckland, County Durham. The animals originated from within the BTV8 Restricted Zone in Germany and were detected as a result of post-import testing carried out by Defra on all Bluetongue susceptible animals arriving from Continental Europe.

This is the fourth incidence of infected animals being imported to the UK. Alongside the premises in East Sussex, Hertfordshire and Devon identified in August, the imported animals will remain under restrictions.

As of 1 September the whole of England and Wales is now in a Protection Zone and approximately 30 million doses of vaccine have so far been made available to farmers throughout England and Wales to protect their stock. However, it may take up to six to eight weeks from now for livestock keepers in the North of England and Wales to have had sufficient opportunity to vaccinate their livestock and to gain immunity (at least three weeks in sheep, and six weeks in cattle).

To allow livestock keepers in those areas sufficient opportunity to protect their animals, and while further veterinary investigations are carried out, these particular infected animals will remain under restriction until late October. Any further positive import cases detected may also be restricted for a period of time depending on veterinary risk assessment, while vaccination continues.

Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, Alick Simmons said.

“This incident shows how important it is for farmers to consider potential disease risks when buying stock, regardless of source. Buyers need to consider how best to protect their own businesses and those of their neighbours and make sure they are clear about the stock they are intending to buy.

“I also want to remind farmers about the importance of vaccination. It is the only effective tool to protect susceptible animals from Bluetongue. Recent evidence indicates a drop or delay in vaccine take-up in counties recently brought into the Protection Zone. Sales data for some of those counties suggest that the number of animals vaccinated in these areas could be as low as one in three, and in Northumberland and Cumbria, the most recent counties brought into the Protection Zone, as low as one in five.

“The threat from Bluetongue is present and real, as shown by the most recent import cases. Vaccination as a preventive measure is therefore more important than ever, so the message to the industry remains clear: don’t hesitate, vaccinate”.

MET: 2017-12-18 04:04:15