The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has published an assessment highlighting a currently low risk of Bluetongue (BTV) incursion, following a number of reported cases of BTV-8 in cattle in northern France.
Bluetongue virus is transmitted by midges and can infect all ruminants, reducing milk yield, causing sickness, reducing reproductive performance or, in the most severe cases, causing death in adult animals. It does not affect people, and meat and milk from infected animals are safe to eat and drink.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA), the British Cattle Veterinary Association, the Goat Veterinary Society and Sheep Veterinary Society joined Defra, the National Farmers’ Union and other organisations in urging farmers, livestock keepers and vets to all remain vigilant over the Bluetongue virus risk.
British Veterinary Association junior vice president John Fishwick said: “This is an important reminder to vets, farmers and anyone working with livestock, particularly those in the south east of England, to remain vigilant for any signs of Bluetongue in their animals.
“The message we’d like farmers to hear is to closely monitor their stock for Bluetongue symptoms, which could include eye and nasal discharge, drooling, swelling around the head or mouth, lethargy and lameness.”