Over 100 new outbreaks of Bluetongue reported in France

There was a further 109 new outbreaks of the Bluetongue disease reported in France during the month of November, figures from the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) show.

This brings the total number of outbreaks reported in the country for last month to 392, while outbreaks continue to include between one to three infected animals.

In total there was just over 19,500 animals susceptible to the disease with exactly 140 cases of the disease confirmed.

Generally the disease affects cattle, with recent outbreaks reported in herds varying in size from 26-661 head.

However, during last month an outbreak occurred within a flock of 580 sheep, with only one sheep was found to be infected.

All of the cases were detected as part of active surveillance and as part of pre-movement testing, while one animal was reported to have died from the disease.

Recent outbreaks of the disease were found mostly in the central regions of the country, with no outbreaks reported in the north of France.

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Heat map of recent Bluetongue outbreaks in France Source: OIE

As a result of outbreaks during the month of November, the extent of the restriction zone changed and is now just reaching the northern coast of France.

However the zone still remains a significant distance from the UK coast, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Risk Level in the UK

DEFRA recently decided to lowers its risk level status for the Bluetongue disease, despite the restriction zone being the closest it has been to the UK this season.

The decision was taken due to Met Office predictions suggesting that average temperatures in the UK and northern France are dropping.

Falling temperatures and a change in wind direction has lessened the likelihood of midges being blown across the English Channel, leading DEFRA to reduce the UK’s risk level from medium to low.

Meanwhile, outbreaks of the disease have also been reported in a number of European countries such as Cyprus, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and Serbia during the month of November.