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IP/06/1534

Brussels, 9 November 2006

Bluetongue: Restriction zone extended; New outbreaks in Sardinia and Portugal

A Commission Decision to extend the bluetongue restriction zone in Germany, due to further outbreaks of the disease, was backed by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health yesterday. The latest outbreaks have occurred in North-Rhine Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany, and in Denekamp in the Netherlands close to the border with Germany. The zone will now cover more areas in Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Bayern and Niedersachsen. The insect-borne virus has continued to spread in Northern Europe, with over 1600 outbreaks confirmed since the first case was reported in the Netherlands in mid-August.

In addition, the Commission was informed on Monday that an exotic strain of the bluetongue virus (serotype 1), different to those which have affected any part of Europe to date, has now been found in southern Sardinia, Italy. It is thought to have come from northern Africa, transported by the insect vectors. Therefore, the Standing Committee backed the establishment of new restriction zone in Sardinia. A 20km protection zone around the outbreak is being set up, in which a movement ban will apply to all ruminants, other than those approved for transport to direct slaughter or to another holding within the restriction zone.

Portugal also reported a new outbreak of bluetongue in early November, although of the type that has occurred in southern Europe for years. A restriction zone is already in place in Portugal, due to previous outbreaks there. This zone covers the entire regions of Algarve, Alentejo, and parts of Ribatejo e Oeste and Beira Interior. It will now be extended to cover further areas in the region of Ribatejo e Oeste.

For more information, see: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/diseases/controlmeasures/bluetongue_en.htm


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