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Bluetongue: UK farmers urged to be vigilant, cattle positive in northern France

Staff Writer |
UK farmers are being urged to be vigilant for signs of Bluetongue virus (BTV) and consider vaccinating their livestock after BTV-8 was detected in cattle in a previously disease-free area of northern France.

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Bluetongue virus is transmitted by midges and can infect all ruminants, particularly sheep and cattle.

It can reduce milk yield, cause sickness, reduce reproductive performance or, in the most severe cases, cause death in adult animals.

It does not affect people, and meat and milk from infected animals are safe to eat and drink.

Vaccination is the best way to protect livestock and a safe and effective vaccine is available in Great Britain.

Livestock keepers — particularly those on the Kent and Sussex coastline — should discuss with their vet if vaccination is an option which would benefit their business.

The holding where the virus was detected in northern France is less than 150km from the south coast of England.

Farmers across the south of England in particular should look out for clinical signs of disease, including mouth ulcers; drooling; swelling of the mouth, head and neck; fever; lameness and breathing problems.

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