Farmers in the south-east of England have been contacted by the UK’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to notify them that a surveillance zone in place because of a case of bluetongue virus (BTV) is to be extended.
A single case of bluetongue virus serotype 3 (BTV-3) was identified in a cow in Kent.
The chair of industry group, Ruminant Health & Welfare (RH&W) has confirmed that APHA has contacted farmers within a 10km zone near Canterbury in Kent to discuss surveillance requirements
Dr. Joseph Henry, who is also the president of the Sheep Veterinary Society, said that the current temporary surveillance zone within 3km of the BTV case was expected to be finished by Sunday, (November 19).
However, according to Dr. Henry, plans for further surveillance will then begin in a wider 10km zone and farmers are “being updated with more details in due course”.
He has informed farmers that: “This surveillance is likely to require a visit by APHA vets to inspect and sample some, or all of your susceptible animals ruminants and camelids.
“Details of what will be required from farmers for the surveillance testing will be explained when you are contacted by APHA.
“It’s advisable to have your movement records and medicine use records up to date and accessible, and it may help to have paper copies of these to hand.”
Dr Henry has also advised farmers to “beware when buying or moving animals in, to take action and report any suspicious clinical signs and prioritise biosecurity, and always, remain vigilant”.
BTV is transmitted by midge bites. It affects cows, goats, sheep and camelids such as llamas.
The Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM) is undertaking tracing of all cattle and sheep movements from Great Britain into Ireland since October 1.
Regional veterinary offices (RVOs) around the country are contacting farmers who imported cattle from Great Britain since the start of October in a tracing effort to protect against BTV.
Northern Ireland’s chief veterinary officer Dr. Robert Huey, has also urged farmers to “be vigilant in sourcing livestock from responsible sources, spotting clinical signs early and reporting the disease as soon as possible”.