Brussels, 21 August 2006
Bluetongue is a non-contagious, insect-transmitted, viral disease which affects domestic and wild ruminants. It does not affect humans and there is no risk of the disease being contracted or spread through meat or milk. In Europe it is usually only found in parts of the southerly Mediterranean countries, but last week the first ever outbreak above the 50°N parallel was reported by the Dutch authorities. The Belgian and German outbreaks are both close to where Bluetongue was reported in the Netherlands and are located within the 150km radius surveillance zone that was established around the Dutch outbreak.
Within 20km standstill zones that have now been set up around the infected farms, all ruminants must be kept inside at night, all movement of live animals on or off farms is prohibited, and the use of insecticide is compulsory in an effort to eradicate the Culicoides mites that carry the disease. In the protection and surveillance zones, strict controls must be carried out on all live animals and movement of live ruminants in or out of the zones is banned.
For further information, see: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/diseases/controlmeasures/bluetongue_en.htm