Bluetongue Explosion Forecast For 2008

UK - Experts have predicted an explosion in the number of bluetongue cases in 2008, with potentially dire consequences for livestock farmers.
calendar icon 9 January 2008
clock icon 1 minute read

But there is also hope that the impact may not be as devastating as some fear.

In Belgium 60 cases of the disease were reported when it first struck in 2006. Just a year later over 2,500 cases had been confirmed. Last year in the UK there were 66 confirmed cases and there are fears the country could see a similar increase to Belgium this year.

Virologist Dr Ruth Watkins said: “In 2008 we will see the virus spread much wider and many more animals will become infected. The disease is very difficult to stop spreading. It doesn’t make every animal keel over and symptoms can be difficult to spot. We are unlikely to notice any sick animals in May or June but the midges will be back biting animals by then.

“It will take a few weeks for the virus to replicate in the midges and then in the animals so by July we can expect to see it spreading again.”

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