News Article

Risk of Bluetongue Spreading to the UK

Tuesday, 26 July 2016 - 10:34am

Many of you will remember the Bluetongue outbreak, in 2007.  With the risk of Bluetongue spreading to the UK in late Summer, now is the time to think ahead.

Bluetongue is a notifiable viral disease, affecting both cattle and sheep. Although cattle are more often affected, the clinical signs in sheep are more severe.

Transmission is through the culicoides midge, and with warmer winters and wetter summers, there is a threat of transmission to the UK in September 2016. The UK government are currently estimating this risk to be 80%.

Defra have launched a video displaying the symptoms of bluetongue which can be viewed here - Bluetongue Symptoms.

These include:

  • Lameness and stiffness of limbs
  • Swelling of head, mouth and neck
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty breathing and nasal discharge
  • Inflammation of the coronary band
  • Fever

Sheep that survive the disease are likely to experience a drop in fertility, lamb loses and birth deformities. Recovery also reduces body condition score, and increases cost of production.

In 2008, the disease was successfully controlled by vaccination of cattle and sheep.

The practice is now ready to dispense bluetongue vaccine which can offer 12 months protection from disease.

If you think you might be at risk, please call and speak to one of our dedicated farm vets.

Remember, Bluetongue is a notifiable disease and any suspicion of the above symptoms should be reported to the APHA immediately - telephone 03000 200 301