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IP/07/1384

Brussels, 22 September 2007

European Commission informed of Bluetongue in the UK

The European Commission has been informed today by the UK veterinary authorities of a suspicion of bluetongue in cattle in the United Kingdom near Ipswich in Suffolk. A bovine animal presenting clinical symptoms of bluetongue was found positive to bluetongue virus laboratory tests. Further investigations and laboratory testing are currently being performed at the Community Reference Laboratory in Pirbright, Surrey, to identify the strain (serotype) involved in this outbreak.

Bluetongue is an insect-borne viral disease (carried by Culicoides midges) which affects domestic and wild ruminants.Environmental conditions play a major role in the occurrence and persistance of this disease transmitted by midges. It does not affect humans and there is no risk of the disease being contracted or spread through meat or milk. Bluetongue was frequently reported in southern Europe (several strains circulating) and in 2006 and 2007 serious epidemic waves of a different strain of bluetongue (BTV8) have occurred also in Centre-Northern Europe with more than 12.000 outbreaks recorded in 2007 (Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Luxembourg annd Germany).

The British authorities are taking the necessary measures and any movement from or to the affected holding is prohibited.
Background information about Bluetongue can be found on the Commission web site at this page:

http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/diseases/controlmeasures/bluetongue_en.htm


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