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Animal health and welfare

Homepage > Animal health & welfare > Bluetongue

Bluetongue

Key current information

Bluetongue Protection Zone - Declaration and definitive map (pdf)

Don’t hesitate, vaccinate

Farmers and veterinary professionals are reminded that Bluetongue vaccines should not be used beyond their expiry date.

Intervet have worked with Defra and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate to investigate the possibility of extending the expiry dates on some of the early expiring stocks of vaccine. However, the medicines legislation does not allow for the extensions of shelf lives for products after they have entered the supply chain. This means that extensions are not possible. Livestock keepers should therefore continue to abide by the expiry dates given on the vaccine packaging.

Livestock keepers are reminded that the risk of infection significantly rises with warmer weather, so vaccinating at the earliest opportunity, before the risk of Bluetongue spread increases is paramount. Farmers wishing to order vaccine should speak to their vet as soon as possible. Details of available vaccines, including usage and cost are available.

Vaccination is the only effective way for individuals to protect the welfare of their animals and their own livelihood.  The nature of this disease is such that keepers cannot rely on their neighbours’ vaccination: midges can be carried by winds and by human activity. The only sure way is to vaccinate your own animals.

We strongly encourage all livestock farmers to remain vigilant and report any clinical signs of disease. Even those who have already vaccinated against BTV8 need to be remain vigilant: BTV is on the move in Europe, and we need to be on our guard against it.

The disease, caused by a virus spread by midges, affects ruminants but not pigs, horses or humans. Check the declarations and maps to see if your premises are in a Zone. All movement licence conditions for Bluetongue must be complied with. Surveillance and epidemiological investigations are continuing.

If you suspect signs of any notifiable disease, you must immediately notify your local Divisional Veterinary Manager. If you need further information or advice not covered by these pages please contact the Defra Helpline on 08459 33 55 77 which is open between 8.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday.

Register here for Animal Health's disease alerts service.

 

 

Page last modified: 27 February, 2009

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs