Farm Ireland

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Department warns farmers to remain vigilant to bluetongue as outbreaks continue in France

Photo: Roger Jones.
Photo: Roger Jones.
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Farmers should be vigilant and ensure that they are fully aware of the presenting clinical signs of Bluetongue (BT) in both cattle and sheep, and that they report any suspicion of disease to their Regional Veterinary Office (RVO) without delay.

That’s according to the Department of Agriculture which has issued an update on the current bluetongue situation in Europe and the risk to Ireland.

It says the Bluetongue virus s prevalent in Europe and is a threat to Irish ruminants. A variant of the virus has reached a region on the north coast of France and has caused 2094 outbreaks in France since it re-emerged in 2015 (657 this year alone).

The Department says the BT vector season in Ireland is likely to be between late April and early December.

BT may be introduced to Ireland via imported animals harbouring BT virus, infected vectors (e.g. midges) or animal products (e.g. semen).

It says particular care should be taken when importing ruminants from BT affected countries as this is the most likely route of introduction of the BT virus into Ireland.

Bluetongue outbreaks in the EU between 1/1/2017 and 16/06/2017 (DG SANTE ADNS)
Bluetongue outbreaks in the EU between 1/1/2017 and 16/06/2017 (DG SANTE ADNS)

Although specific EU certification requirements apply to the movement of animals originating from BT restricted zones there is evidence that these requirements are not always properly implemented.

In the case of one strain of the virus BTV-8, infected animals may not show any clinical signs and will only be detected through testing their blood for BTV.

Also Read

The Department says even animals with BT vaccination records may possibly harbour BT virus

It warns that if BT is introduced to Ireland, it could have a major impact on our export markets. The control measures required by the EU for BT would have a significant impact on animal movements and herd management.

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