As I understand it bluetongue is a virus borne and spread by a midge and up until now the North Sea has provided the barrier. The main hope is that a cold winter will kill them off but if not, having crossed the channel we could probably expect the virus to spread in the warmer areas of the country.
It was just a matter of time! What next, plagues of Locusts?
I Quote: - From DEFRA
Bluetongue detected in Suffolk
Update 12:00 23 September
The strain of Bluetongue virus detected in one cow near Ipswich, Suffolk has been identified as Serotype 8. This is the strain found in Belgium, France Germany, Luxembourg and Netherlands since August 2006.
This is not a confirmed outbreak unless further investigation demonstrates that disease is circulating, and this could take days or weeks to assess. The premises where Bluetongue was detected remains under restrictions, and epidemiological investigations are being carried out to assess the situation.
Debby Reynolds, Chief Veterinary Officer, said:
“It remains vitally important that farmers maintain vigilance for this disease and report any suspect cases, particularly as clinical signs may be similar to Foot and Mouth disease. I would like to thank the owner, Animal Health and the Institute for Animal Health for their rapid response in helping to detect Bluetongue in this single animal.”
Information at 19:30 22 September
Laboratory tests have detected the presence of Bluetongue in one cow on a premises near Ipswich, Suffolk. Bluetongue is a very different infection to Foot and Mouth Disease and the strategy to control it is therefore also different. This is not a confirmed outbreak unless further investigation demonstrates that disease is circulating.
Bluetongue is a disease of animals. It does not affect humans. This is a disease of ruminants, including sheep, cattle, deer, camelids and goats. It is transmitted by the movement of midges or by movements of infected animals if they are subsequently bitten by midges.
The premises where Bluetongue has been found is under restrictions. The one infected animal will be culled and epidemiological investigations are being carried out to assess the situation.
This is the first time Bluetongue virus has been recorded in the UK.
Defra has been working in close partnership with the industry to develop the Bluetongue Control Strategy and has jointly been involved in raising awareness of this disease.
The Health Protection Agency advise that people who have visited the affected premises do not need to be concerned that there is any risk to their health.