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  • Writer's pictureFlockFinder Team

Bluetongue Health Alert

Bluetongue Health Alert
Bluetongue Health Alert
Update: 28th November 2023 - Following active surveillance within the 10km temporary control zone (TCZ) a further 4 cases in cattle of bluetongue serotype 3 have been identified on 2 additional premises, all within the 10km TCZ and within 5km of the first finding near Canterbury, Kent. There is no evidence that there is circulating virus in the midge population. The 10km TCZ remains in place and surveillance is ongoing.

The UK has been upgraded to MEDIUM risk of BLUETONGUE after cases have been reported in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands over the last month.

Bluetongue could spread to the UK through infected midges carried across the channel by the wind.

Bluetongue affects both cattle & sheep.

The South and East costs of England are at the highest risk, with a case detected in Kent earlier this week.

More information can be found on the Government website here.

If you suspect Bluetongue on your farm, it must be reported to the Animal & Plant Health Agency (AHPA) on 03000 200 301.

How to spot Bluetongue

If you keep livestock, you must continue to keep a close watch for, and report, any suspicion of bluetongue disease in your animals.

Photos of clinical signs

The Government has published some photos of clinical signs of bluetongue disease on Flickr.

In Sheep 🐑

Sheep are more likely to show obvious clinical signs of Bluetongue than cattle if they become infected. Signs of bluetongue in sheep include:

  • ulcers or sores in the mouth and nose

  • discharge from the eyes or nose and drooling from mouth

  • swelling of the lips, tongue, head and neck and the coronary band (where the skin of the leg meets the horn of the foot)

Other clinical signs include:

  • red skin as a result of blood collecting beneath the surface

  • fever

  • lameness

  • breathing problems

  • abortion

  • death

In Cattle 🐄

Signs of the disease include:

  • lethargy

  • crusty erosions around the nostrils and muzzle

  • redness of the mouth, eyes, nose

  • reddening of the skin above the hoof

  • nasal discharge

  • reddening and erosions on the teats

  • fever

  • milk drop

  • not eating

  • abortion

Adult cattle may serve as a source of virus for several weeks while displaying little or no clinical signs of disease and are often the preferred host for insect vectors.

In calves 🐮

Calves can become infected with bluetongue (BTV-8) before birth if the mother is infected while pregnant. Signs of infection include:

  • calves born small, weak, deformed or blind

  • death of calves within a few days of birth

  • abortions

Livestock keepers and vets should consider bluetongue as a possible cause for calves showing these signs.


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