Farm Ireland

Monday 18 February 2019

Farmers told not to import animals from bluetongue affected countries unless 'absolutely necessary'

Bluetongue outbreaks (red dots) reported in Europe between 1st of January 2018 and 23rd of January 2019.
Bluetongue outbreaks (red dots) reported in Europe between 1st of January 2018 and 23rd of January 2019.
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Department of Agriculture has warned farmers considering importing ruminant animals from bluetongue (BTV) affected countries to only do so if absolutely necessary as this is the most likely route of introduction of the bluetongue virus into Ireland.

It warned that even animals with bluetongue vaccination records may harbour the virus and that infected animals may not show any clinical signs and may only be detected through testing their blood for BTV.

The high-risk period for Bluetongue in Ireland is during the vector season which is between April and early December each year.

The Department has warned that if bluetongue is introduced to Ireland, it could have a major impact on our export markets.

Also, the control measures required by the EU legislation would have a significant impact on local herd management.

The Department implements various measures to prevent a BT incursion including testing all ruminant animals imported from or transiting through countries restricted for bluetongue within 7 days of arrival in Ireland.

In December, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland confirmed Bluetongue was detected in a heifer imported from France.

Also in December, German authorities confirmed a case of

Bluetongue virus. This was the first case of Bluetongue in Germany since November 2009.

As of the 24th of January 2019, 32 outbreaks of BTV 8 have now been reported in Germany.

The majority of these are in the south-western/western part of the country close to the borders with France and Switzerland

Bluetongue outbreaks are also continuing in France, Switzerland, Italy and other parts of Europe.

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