Bluetongue was identified for the first time in the United Kingdom. The announcement comes on the heels of the latest foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Britain.
Bluetongue was first confirmed in a cow in Suffolk, Sept. 22. As of early October, there were 25 premises infected with the disease in the U.K. Bluetongue virus is transmitted by the movement of midges or by movements of infected animals if they are subsequently bitten by midges.
Tests confirm that the strain found in the U.K. is BTV-8, which caused an outbreak in Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands in 2006. The insect vector that year was identified as a biting midge that had adapted to the climate of northern Europe, which may have substantial impact on the potential for further spread of the disease in Europe.
The recent confirmation of bluetongue in the U.K. does not change trade restrictions in the United States, which has restrictions on all ruminants from the U.K. because of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
For the latest on bluetongue and the FMD outbreak in the U.K., visit the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs online at www.defra.gov.uk. To view the AVMA backgrounder on bluetongue, visit www.avma.org/reference.