Bluetongue by Blackpool: Serotype One Detected

UK - Defra yesterday announced the detection of Bluetongue (Serotype 1) (BTV1) in five imported cattle on a premises near Blackpool in Lancashire.
calendar icon 26 November 2008
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The animals originated from within the BTV1 and 8 Restricted Zone in the south west of France and were detected as a result of post-import testing carried out by Defra on all Bluetongue susceptible animals arriving from continental Europe. The animals’ documentation complied with the EU Bluetongue rules governing the movement of livestock as the movement occurred at least 60 days after they had been vaccinated.

This is the first case of BTV1 infection in the UK and the five animals have been culled as they may pose a disease threat to other animals. One further animal from the same consignment has also been culled. Test results for that animal were positive for bluetongue although it was not possible to determine the serotype.

There is no evidence that BTV1 is circulating in the UK and no additional control zones have been declared.

This response is in accordance with Defra’s Bluetongue Control Strategy. The premises are now under restriction while an epidemiological investigation takes place. This will include further checks on the other animals present on the premises.

Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said:

“This is the first case of BTV1 infected animals being imported into the UK. Taking into account the epidemiological evidence and the consideration of the risk represented to British livestock, I have taken the decision to cull these animals.

“This incident shows how important it is for farmers to consider potential disease risks when buying stock. Buyers need to consider how best to protect their own businesses and those of their neighbours and make sure they are clear about the stock they are intending to buy.”

Defra continues to test all susceptible animals imported to the UK from continental Europe for all strains of Bluetongue and continues to urge industry to consider the risks and check the health and vaccination status of animals when sourcing any animals from within the UK or abroad.

In line with EU legislation, and our UK Control Strategy agreed with industry, control measures are in place in UK and abroad to prevent the spread of Bluetongue from existing zones around Europe:

  • Restricted Zones around infected premises where disease is circulating (such as the BTV8 Protection Zone in GB);
  • Controls on movements of animals out of these zones to minimise the risk of disease spread by animal movement;
  • Vaccination programmes to protect animals from disease and prevent its spread (as rolled out for BTV8 in GB in 2008);
  • Surveillance to detect disease, including post import testing in UK to look for disease in imported animals.


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