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Bluetongue virus detected

Published: 23 Oct 2017 17:02

Farmers urged to remain vigilant.

Farmers in Scotland should remain watchful for signs of bluetongue virus following the detection of the virus in post import checks in a number of cattle imported from France.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) successfully picked up the infected animals through the post-import testing regime.

Action is being taken to ensure there is no spread of the disease. APHA is working closely with the livestock keepers affected to ensure that swift action is taken to prevent spread of the disease, with movement restrictions at affected premises, targeted surveillance and the humane culling of animals where necessary.

Chief Veterinary Officer for Scotland, Sheila Voas said:

“Bluetongue does not pose a threat to human health or food safety, but can have a severe impact on affected farms.

“A total of 10 animals were imported from the same assembly centre in France – an area where multiple cases of bluetongue have been confirmed in recent times – and we are working closely with affected farms and stakeholders to contain the virus.

“While I am pleased with our robust disease surveillance procedures have worked, the identification offers a timely reminder to farmers for the need to remain vigilant and of the risks of importing animals from disease-affected areas into their herds.”

Background

Bluetongue is a virus spread by insects which affects animals such as cattle, goats, deer and sheep. It does not affect humans.

Great Britain is officially a free area from bluetongue. The last outbreak in Great Britain occurred in the South of England in 2007.

Compensation is not paid for any imported animals culled under the Trade in Animals and Related Products regulations.