December 04, 2003



Scotland Confirmed Bovine Brucellosis in A Heifer Imported From Ireland

A case of bovine brucellosis has been confirmed in Scotland in a heifer (young cow) imported from the Republic of Ireland.


The Scottish Executive confirmed the case on Tuesday, December 2, but would not identify the location of the affected farm.


"We are not disclosing the location," said an executive spokesman. "Brucellosis is a disease where we need the co-operation of the industry.


"If farmers feel that we will disclose locations of any affected farms then they might be reluctant to report any suspected cases."


Other animals on the beef unit where the infection has been confirmed have been placed under restriction.


Further surveillance and testing is underway, but no other positive cases have been found so far, the spokesman said.


The infected heifer was identified during post-import blood testing undertaken by the State Veterinary Service.


The brucellosis scare comes on the heels of a TB outbreak in September that resulted in the slaughter of the entire herd of almost 300 cattle on a South Lanarkshire farm.


There were also four confirmed cases of brucellosis on farms in Scotland earlier this year, the first in Great Britain since October 1993.


Once again the executive has urged farmers to exercise great care when buying livestock and, where possible, not to source animals from high-risk areas.


Although there is no risk to the public from pasteurised milk, cooked meat or contact with pasteurised animal products, brucellosis is a zoonotic disease.


It can cause a recurrent or chronic fever in those with direct contact with infected livestock.


The bacterial infection causes abortion in cattle, and the executive has reminded farmers that they must report all abortions or premature calvings to their animal health office.


Scotland's chief veterinary officer, Charles Milne, has written to the veterinary authorities in Ireland informing them of the breakdown, and the case has also been reported to the EU Commission.

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