June 7, 2010


New bluetongue status for EU



Veterinary associations have welcomed the European Commission announcement that Britain's bluetongue status will be reclassified as a Lower Risk Zone (LRZ) for bluetongue virus (BTV8) and are asking members to get the message out to clients as soon as possible.


Britain is currently part of the BTV8 Protection Zone, which covers much of Europe, and will become a LRZ on Saturday 12th June 2010. The LRZ is a new classification which requires stricter vaccination conditions to be placed on bluetongue-susceptible animals being imported. These stringent conditions are: vaccination plus a 60-day wait; or vaccination plus a test 14 days after onset of immunity; or booster vaccination within the time stated on each vaccine's data sheet.


The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and its specialist divisions the British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA), the Goat Veterinary Society (GVS) and the Sheep Veterinary Society (SVS) are urging veterinary surgeons to inform clients who import susceptible animals of the changes to import rules, which will take effect on June 12.


As part of the JAB (Joint campaign Against Bluetongue) campaign group, the veterinary profession is also urging farmers to continue to vaccinate their livestock due to the small but ongoing risks of re-infection from wind-borne spread of the disease, and the risk of importing infected foetuses.


The profession believes that a small but significant number of pregnant animals could be carrying a BTV-infected foetus but still test negative in the post-import blood test. The newborn animal could infect the local midge population and restart the circulation of the disease. Once the disease is in the midge population it can spread huge distances in short periods of time.

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