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Latest bluetongue announcement

BTV-3 updates 26/06/2024

The following resources and information are now available via GOV.org.

To stay up to date with the latest news, regulations and updates, you can visit the Ruminant Health & Welfare bluetongue hub, or farmers can call the dedicated bluetongue hotline on 024 7771 0386 to get advice or ask questions.

In the UK, bluetongue, including BTV-3, is a notifiable disease, so anyone suspecting the disease must take action and report it to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) on 03000 200 301.

RH&W BTV-3 announcement - 24/06/2024

Bluetongue risk of transmission in high-risk counties

With recent warming weather, and average daily temperatures being consistently above 12°C, bluetongue virus (BTV) transmission is now possible in high-risk counties.

Chris Sanders, Research Fellow in Veterinary Entomology at The Pirbright Institute explains the reason why the temperature increase has a significant bearing on the threat that the new strain of bluetongue, BTV-3, poses to UK livestock.

“While there are currently no live cases of BTV-3 in the UK, and no evidence that there is circulating bluetongue virus, with the warmer temperatures we’ve recently seen, we know that the activity of biting midges that spread the virus has increased. The development of BTV in midges also depends on the temperature.

“It is now warm enough that if a midge were to come into contact with BTV-3, local virus transmission between midges and ruminants in the UK would now be possible.

“Bluetongue cases are being monitored on the continent. The extent of BTV-3 transmission in nearby European countries and meteorological factors will determine whether infected biting midges are blown over from northern Europe.

“During this period of warmer weather, and with disease reported on the Continent, we have to consider that the risk of BTV-3 being reintroduced to the UK will increase,” he says.

With the risk of local transmission now possible, Ruminant Health & Welfare reminds farmers to be aware of the BTV-3 risk for susceptible animals, apply caution and use evidence-based tactics to ACT and mitigate against the latest strain BTV-3.

Due to the proximity to the areas of Northern Europe, which are known to have been affected by BTV-3, the high-risk counties are Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent and East Sussex.

To monitor the change in risk for BTV-3, APHA, The Pirbright Institute and UK Met Office continuously track and assess wind patterns and temperature data.

There is currently no BTV-3 vaccine authorised or approved for use in the UK, however free testing is now available for animal keepers. The free testing is available to access if you plan to move susceptible animals out of the high-risk counties to live, or if you sell animals at a market within a high-risk county where there will be buyers from outside the high-risk counties.  

There is sufficient testing capacity to cover likely moves to live and there is a 72-hour turnaround, but keepers need to apply for free testing at least 10 working days before the planned movement or market date. The vet should sample animals five working days before the move or market date to allow time to get your results.

To stay up to date with the latest news, regulations and updates, you can visit the Ruminant Health & Welfare bluetongue hub, or farmers can call the dedicated bluetongue hotline on 024 7771 0386 to get advice or ask questions.

In the UK, bluetongue, including BTV-3, is a notifiable disease, so anyone suspecting the disease must take action and report it to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) on 03000 200 301.

BTV-3 announcement - 23/05/2024

Bluetongue disease control framework set out – GOV.UK 

The government has today (23 May) set out how we will work with the farming industry to manage an outbreak of bluetongue virus in England this year.

Bluetongue virus is primarily transmitted by biting midges (Culicoides species) and affects cattle, sheep, and other ruminants such as goats and deer, and camelids such as llamas and alpacas. The virus does not affect people or food safety. 

The Bluetongue Serotype 3 Disease Control Framework was developed in discussion with the farming industry. It sets out how disease control efforts will focus on movement control of susceptible animals and their germinal products (semen, eggs, ova and embryos) as a precautionary tool to stem spread of the disease until a safe and effective vaccine for bluetongue virus serotype 3 (BTV-3) becomes widely available.  

The government is working hard to facilitate safe access to a BTV-3 vaccine as soon as possible, including actively engaging with vaccine manufacturers, but it is vital that any vaccine has the confidence of industry, consumers and trading partners.  

 Biosecurity Minister Lord Douglas Miller said:  

“It is vital that we proactively plan and prepare for any potential bluetongue incursion and outbreak so that the impact on farmers and livestock keepers can be minimised as far as possible. 

“We are actively engaging with vaccine manufacturers and industry about access to a safe and effective BTV-3 vaccine that has undergone thorough due diligence.

“All disease control decisions will be kept under constant review to ensure they remain proportionate and as effective as possible in controlling the spread of the disease.”

This includes understanding the efficacy of any vaccine, together with potential impacts on trade – a view shared by industry. Defra is actively monitoring vaccine data from EU countries and will continue to work with industry on any decisions on use of a deployable vaccine. 

Farmers should continue to monitor their animals frequently whilst making sure their livestock and land is registered with APHA with up-to-date contact details so animals can be located in the event of an outbreak.

Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Christine Middlemiss said:  

“The Bluetongue Disease Control Framework sets out how we will work to minimise the impact of a potential outbreak of disease, using the latest scientific and veterinary advice to reduce disease transmission as much as possible.

“We know that the likelihood of bluetongue virus entering Great Britain is increasing and so I would urge farmers to remain vigilant and report any suspicions to the Animal and Plant Health Agency.”   

Animal and Plant Health Agency Chief Executive David Holdsworth said: 

“The Animal and Plant Health Agency’s world-leading scientists, vets and field teams stand ready to tackle an outbreak of bluetongue virus and the deployment of APHA resources will be adapted to ensure the approach remains appropriate and proportionate.

“We will continue to work closely with farmers and animal keepers to ensure they are kept up to date and supported during any outbreak.” 

The Framework confirms that upon first detection of disease in England, 20km movement control zones will likely be established to prevent the movement of potentially infected animals and germinal products transporting disease to new locations.  

Movement control zones will be no bigger than is necessary to contain and slow disease spread. They will be kept under constant review and will be modified or withdrawn when they are no longer proportionate if disease circulation becomes widespread. Movement of animals within zones, as well as moves to slaughter will be permitted.  

Free testing will be offered for animals moving from the highest risk counties to live elsewhere in Great Britain to help guard against animal movements potentially transporting undetected disease to new areas. Tests will become available once the risk level increases.

Upon first detection of bluetongue virus, if there appears to be limited local spread, bluetongue control zones will be put in place alongside limited culling of infected animals to contain and eradicate disease. Keepers will be compensated the market value for any animals culled.

However, culling of infected animals will be limited as once bluetongue is known to be circulating in biting midges in an area, culling of livestock is not an effective control measure. 

The trajectory of any outbreak is difficult to predict but there is an active surveillance programme running, which involves the trapping of midges across the country and working with partners such as the Met Office to monitor the likely spread of the virus based on temperature and wind patterns. The situation will be kept under constant review and the views of industry will be routinely sought. 

The Framework follows the recent publication of APHA’s latest risk assessment of bluetongue virus entering Great Britain during 2024, which confirmed there is a very high probability of a new introduction this strain of the virus into livestock in GB through infected biting midges being blown over from northern Europe. 

Last November, APHA and The Pirbright Institute identified the first case of the disease in Great Britain through the annual bluetongue surveillance programme. Since then, there have been 126 bluetongue cases confirmed in England across 73 premises in 4 counties, with the last case confirmed on the 8 March 2024.  As of today there are no live cases of bluetongue virus.  All cases confirmed to date have been detected through active surveillance, with the animals likely infected in late autumn 2023. 

Due to their proximity to areas in northern Europe, where bluetongue is present, counties along the south and east coasts of England, including Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent, and East Sussex, are considered most likely to be impacted by a wind-borne incursion of biting midges, but these could change if disease spreads in northern Europe. 

Bluetongue virus is a notifiable disease. Suspicion of bluetongue virus in animals must be reported to the Animal and Plant Health Agency on 03000 200 301 in England, on 03003 038 268 in Wales and to the local Field Services Office in Scotland.   

Farmers should continue to be vigilant and monitor their animals frequently, whilst maintaining up-to-date registrations for all livestock, land and buildings used to keep livestock, even short-term lets, so the location of susceptible animals can be traced to help prevent and control disease. Find out when and how to apply for temporary land arrangements (TLA) or a temporary CPH (tCPH).  

Farmers must also be aware of any movement restrictions in place before moving animals. More advice can be found on gov.uk/bluetongue.

RH&W BTV-3 announcement - 07/05/2024

Advice for farmers to ‘ACT’ on BTV-3

Farmers and the industry must remain Aware, apply Caution and use evidence-based Tactics to ACT and mitigate against the latest strain BTV-3.

Following a technical AHDB meeting with the support of Ruminant Health & Welfare, Lesley Stubbings, sheep consultant and SCOPS adviser (Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep) says: “The fact is, a single bite from a single infected midge will reliably transmit BTV-3.

“This means that trying to control midges is futile and is not going to impact on the risk of BTV-3 transmission. It is crucial that we ACT with this knowledge in mind.”

Speaking as a spokesperson for the working technical group, Ms Stubbings says: “We’re recommending that farmers are aware of the facts and avoid misinformation to prevent unnecessary actions and costs.

Read more: Advice for farmers to ‘ACT’ on BTV-3 – Ruminant Health & Welfare (ruminanthw.org.uk)

BTV-3 announcement - 07/05/2024

Bluetongue virus risk set out for the year ahead 

  • Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) confirms a very high probability of a new introduction of bluetongue virus (BTV-3) into Great Britain.
  • Bluetongue does not pose a threat to human health or food safety.
  • Chief Vet urges farmers to remain vigilant. 

The latest risk assessment of bluetongue virus entering Great Britain during 2024 has been published by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) today (7 May) following an outbreak in England last year.  

Bluetongue virus is primarily transmitted by biting midges (Culicoides species) and affects cattle, sheep, and other ruminants such as goats and deer, and camelids such as llamas. The virus does not affect people or food safety.

In an updated qualitative risk assessment, APHA confirm there is a very high probability of a new introduction of bluetongue virus serotype 3 (BTV-3) into livestock in Great Britain through infected biting midges being blown over from northern Europe.  Biting midges are most active between April and November and the timing of a potential incursion will depend on the temperature and wind patterns.  

Farmers should continue to be vigilant and monitor their animals frequently, whilst making sure their livestock and land is registered with APHA and that their contact details are updated so animals can be located in the event of an outbreak. More advice can be found on gov.uk.

The impacts on susceptible animals can vary greatly depending on the species of animal and the strain of bluetongue virus – some show no symptoms while for others it can cause productivity issues such as reduced milk yield or, in the most severe cases, it can be fatal for infected animals.  

Last November, APHA and The Pirbright Institute identified the first case of the disease in Great Britain through the annual bluetongue surveillance programme. Since then, there have been 126 bluetongue cases confirmed in England across 73 premises in 4 counties, with the last case confirmed on the 8 March 2024. All cases confirmed to date have been detected through active surveillance, with the animals likely infected in late autumn. 

Due to their proximity to areas in Northern Europe, where BTV-3 is actively being transmitted by the biting midge population and wind patterns, counties along the south and east coasts of England, including Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent, and Sussex, are considered most likely to be impacted. 

Surveillance of midges continues through the use of traps across the country.  The risk of virus transmission is expected to increase as temperatures rise and with any increase of infections on the continent.  

The government is actively monitoring the situation and has been working closely with a wide range of stakeholders to review the bluetongue virus control strategy. 

The UK has world-leading biosecurity measures and capabilities. Our approach to biosecurity is internationally recognised as delivering the highest standards of protection from pests, disease and invasive non-native species. This is underpinned by world-class scientific experience and capabilities from both within the government’s science base and the wider UK science and research community.

There are no authorised vaccines available for bluetongue virus serotype 3 (BTV-3) in the UK or Europe, but the government are actively engaging with vaccine manufacturers on the development of a BTV-3 vaccine for use in the UK.  

Biosecurity Minister Lord Douglas Miller said:  

“We must not be complacent to the bluetongue virus risk and the challenge this could pose to our livestock sector.  We want to ensure our control strategy is proportionate, and we will continue to work with industry to keep them briefed on the latest disease and veterinary assessments. 

“Once the risk of transmission increases, we will also be offering free bluetongue tests to keepers in high-risk counties and we are actively engaging with vaccine manufacturers on the development of a BTV-3 vaccine for use in the UK. “ 

Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Christine Middlemiss said:  

“Our robust surveillance systems show we have now entered the period where biting midges are more active, and we know that the likelihood of bluetongue virus entering Great Britain is increasing.  

“Despite the increase in midge activity, the current risk of transmission has not changed, but I would urge farmers to remain vigilant and report any suspicions to the Animal Plant Health Agency. 

“Bluetongue virus does not pose a threat to human health or food safety.”

David Holdsworth, Chief Executive Officer, Animal and Plant Health Agency said:    

“The Animal Plant Health Agency’s world-leading scientists and vets have been working to provide evidence and modelling to government, to enable effective proactive planning and to prepare for any potential incursion and outbreak in the UK. Our field teams stand ready and will continue to work closely with farmers and animal keepers to ensure they are kept up to date and supported during any outbreak . 

“I would encourage farmers to make sure they register their livestock and land with APHA, ensure their contact details are updated so we can locate animals in the event of an outbreak, and monitor their animals frequently for clinical signs.”

Control of the disease is likely to include the declaration of bluetongue disease Control Zones surrounding premises where infection is confirmed to restrict the long-distance movement of susceptible animals and germinal products potentially spreading disease. Moves to slaughter will be allowed. Once bluetongue is known to be circulating in the domestic midge population, culling of livestock is not an effective control measure to deal with disease. 

APHA has also enhanced the licensing application system for moving animals between disease control zones in the event of an outbreak to make it faster and more convenient for keepers to make licence applications.   

All bluetongue virus testing for suspect cases is undertaken at the UK’s bluetongue virus National Reference Laboratory (NRL) at The Pirbright Institute. To support farmers to take preventative action, the government will offer free bluetongue tests to keepers in high-risk counties once the risk of bluetongue virus transmission increases. Defra and APHA will provide further details on this in due course.  

The overall risk of importing livestock infected with BTV into GB is considered to be very low. Rules on the movement of livestock from regions affected by bluetongue are already in place and farmers are reminded that animals imported from these regions must be accompanied by the relevant paperwork to clearly show they meet certain conditions designed to reduce disease risk.  

BTV is a notifiable disease. Suspicion of BTV in animals must be reported to the Animal and Plant Health Agency on 03000 200 301 in England, on 03003 038 268 in Wales and to the local Field Services Office in Scotland.  

More information about bluetongue is available on gov.uk/www.gov.uk/bluetongue

BTV-3 announcement - 07/05/2024

Bluetongue virus – Latest situation: End of the seasonal low vector period

We are out of the seasonal low vector period. This is because biting midge activity has increased with the warmer Spring weather. We are planning for a possible increase of bluetongue virus over the coming months as the weather warms and the risk of infected biting midges blowing over from northern Europe increases.

The risk of bluetongue transmission and therefore the risk level has not changed.

Farms close to the coast in counties along the east coast of England from Norfolk to Kent and along the south coast from Kent to Devon are at highest risk of incursion. 

Farmers should continue to monitor their animals frequently for clinical signs and make sure their animals and land are registered with APHA so we can locate animals in the event of an outbreak.

There is currently no evidence that there is circulating bluetongue virus.

Surveillance of susceptible animals and epidemiological assessments will continue. We will keep the situation under review.

Find out more information on the latest situation and guidance.

Bluetongue does not affect people or food safety. The virus is primarily transmitted by midge bites and affects cattle, goats, sheep and camelids such as llamas. The midges are most active between April and November and not all susceptible animals show immediate, or any, signs of contracting the virus. The impacts on susceptible animals can vary greatly – some show no clinical signs or effects at all while for others it can cause productivity issues such as reduced milk yield, while in the most severe cases can be fatal for infected animals.

The virus can also be spread through germplasm (semen, ova, and embryos) as well as transmitted from mother to unborn offspring. 

Strict rules on the movement of livestock from regions affected by bluetongue are already in place and farmers are reminded that animals imported from these regions must be accompanied by the relevant paperwork to clearly show they meet certain conditions designed to reduce disease risk, such as correct vaccination.

Following confirmation of BTV in a non-imported animal in England, some trading partners may restrict exports of bluetongue susceptible animals or their products. The latest information on availability of individual export health certificates can be found on Gov.uk.

NI and GB ruminants cannot be exported from an GB Assembly Centre to the European Union or moved to Northern Ireland until further notice.

BTV is a notifiable disease. Suspicion of BTV in animals in England must be reported to the Animal and Plant Health Agency on 03000 200 301 

More information about bluetongue is available here.

Also, please have a look at DEFRA’s partner pack which contains comms materials aimed at livestock keepers with useful information on bluetongue virus, including posters, flyers and animations. 

BTV-3 announcement - 26/04/2024

In the event of an BTV3 outbreak in in England, Scotland or Wales, you may need a licence to move your animals if you are in a disease control zone.
You can now apply online for a licence to move animals in these zones – click here.

BTV-3 announcement - 19/04/2024

There are 126 bluetongue cases in England on 73 premises in 4 counties. There are 119 cases in cattle and 7 cases in sheep. There is still no evidence that bluetongue virus is currently circulating in midges in Great Britain. We remain in a seasonally vector low period.

Click here for more information.

BTV-3 announcement - 08/03/2024

There are 123 bluetongue cases in England on 73 premises in 4 counties. There are 116 cases in cattle and 7 cases in sheep. There is still no evidence that bluetongue virus is currently circulating in midges in Great Britain. We remain in a seasonally vector low period.

Click here for more information.

BTV-3 announcement - 21/02/2024

Due to a decrease in temperature, midge activity is much lower with midges (the disease vector) not actively feeding. Low temperatures also mean that the virus cannot replicate in the midge, so even if a midge does feed on an infected animal, the risk of transmission to another animal is very low. This is called a low vector period.

Considering current environmental and vector conditions, we have taken the decision not to cull infected animals where test results indicate older infection and the presence of BTV antibodies. Infected animals may still be restricted at their current locations and other disease mitigation measures taken as appropriate.

Since Monday 19 February the Kent and Norfolk Temporary Control Zones (TCZs) have been lifted. Positive high-risk animals will remain under restriction as well as premises in the Zones which have not yet been sampled. APHA has contacted livestock keepers in the Zones to discuss what this means for them.

Surveillance of susceptible animals and epidemiological assessments will continue. We will keep the situation under review.

Find out more information on the latest situation and guidance.

RH&W BTV-3 announcement - 21/02/2024

Ruminant Health & Welfare has worked with stakeholders from across the ruminant sector to create a flowchart to help farmers in the recently lifted Temporary Control Zones (TCZ) navigate what this means for their farm and animal movements during the vector low season for midges. If you still have queries, please call the bluetongue hotline.
View the flowchart.

BTV-3 announcement - 19/02/2024

From noon on Monday 19 February the temporary control zones (TCZs) in Kent, Norfolk and parts of Suffolk were lifted. Positive high-risk animals will remain under restriction as well as premises in the zones which have not yet been sampled.

BTV-3 announcement - 16/02/2024

There is currently no evidence that there is circulating virus.

Due to a decrease in temperature midge activity is much lower with midges (the disease vector) not actively feeding. Low temperatures also mean that the virus cannot replicate in the midge, so even if a midge does feed on an infected animal, the risk of transmission to another animal is very low. This is called a low vector period.

Considering current environmental and vector conditions, we have taken the decision not to cull infected animals where test results indicate older infection and the presence of BTV antibodies. Infected animals may still be restricted at their current locations and other disease mitigation measures taken as appropriate.

From Monday 19 February the Kent and Norfolk Temporary Control Zones (TCZs) will be lifted. Positive high-risk animals will remain under restriction as well as premises in the Zones which have not yet been sampled. APHA has contacted livestock keepers in the Zones to discuss what this means for them.

Surveillance of susceptible animals and epidemiological assessments will continue. We will keep the situation under review.

Find out more information on the latest situation and guidance.

Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said:  

“Bluetongue does not pose a threat to human health or food safety, but the disease can affect livestock reducing farm productivity.

“We are now in a seasonally low vector period, when midge activity is much lower and there is reduced risk of disease, meaning we can lift the temporary control zones.”

“However, our robust disease surveillance procedures continue, and I urge farmers to remain vigilant and report any suspicions to APHA.”

Aled Edwards, Head of Field Delivery England, Animal and Plant Health Agency said:  

“The current environmental and vector conditions mean that the temporary control zones in place can soon be lifted, and where there is no risk of disease spreading, farmers will be able to resume movements of animals. Where there is a known disease risk, or unknown risk status, APHA will contact these premises directly to restrict specific animals within the premises.”

“APHA teams will continue to work closely with farmers to ensure that keepers and businesses are kept up to date, and that questions and concerns are addressed promptly.”

Bluetongue does not affect people or food safety. The virus is primarily transmitted by midge bites and affects cattle, goats, sheep and camelids such as llamas. The midges are most active between April and November and not all susceptible animals show immediate, or any, signs of contracting the virus. The impacts on susceptible animals can vary greatly – some show no clinical signs or effects at all while for others it can cause productivity issues such as reduced milk yield, while in the most severe cases can be fatal for infected animals.

The virus can also be spread through germplasm (semen, ova, and embryos) as well as transmitted from mother to unborn offspring. 

Strict rules on the movement of livestock from regions affected by bluetongue are already in place and farmers are reminded that animals imported from these regions must be accompanied by the relevant paperwork to clearly show they meet certain conditions designed to reduce disease risk, such as correct vaccination.

Following confirmation of BTV in a non-imported animal in England, some trading partners may restrict exports of bluetongue susceptible animals or their products. The latest information on availability of individual export health certificates can be found on Gov.uk.

NI and GB ruminants cannot be exported from an GB Assembly Centre to the European Union or moved to Northern Ireland until further notice.

BTV is a notifiable disease. Suspicion of BTV in animals in England must be reported to the Animal and Plant Health Agency on 03000 200 301 

More information about bluetongue is available here. 

BTV-3 announcement - 07/02/2024

Following active surveillance of premises in the Norfolk temporary control zone (TCZ), 1 new case of bluetongue in cattle has been confirmed at a premises near Damgate.

Now we are in a seasonally vector low period, the positive animal will not be culled but will be restricted at their current location and disease mitigation measures will be taken. The TCZ is not being extended.

Find details of all bluetongue disease control zones in England, including rules you must follow in these areas. Movement restrictions in the zone apply to cattle, sheep, deer, camelids and other ruminants.

BTV-3 announcement - 06/02/2024

Following active surveillance of premises in the Norfolk temporary control zone (TCZ), 1 new case of bluetongue in cattle has been confirmed at a premises near Norwich.

 

BTV-3 announcement - 05/02/2024

Following active surveillance of premises in the Norfolk temporary control zone (TCZ), 1 new case of bluetongue in cattle has been confirmed at a premises near Reedham.

 

BTV-3 announcement - 04/02/2024

Following active surveillance of premises in the Norfolk temporary control zone (TCZ), 7 new cases of bluetongue in cattle have been confirmed at a premises near Norwich.

Now we are in a seasonally vector low period, the positive animals will not be culled but will be restricted at their current locations and disease mitigation measures will be taken. The TCZ is not being extended.

Find details of all bluetongue disease control zones in England, including rules you must follow in these areas. Movement restrictions in the zone apply to cattle, sheep, deer, camelids and other ruminants.

There are 83 bluetongue cases in England on 44 premises in 3 counties. There is still no evidence that bluetongue virus is currently circulating in midges in Great Britain. Surveillance is ongoing.  

Check if you’re in a zone on the bluetongue disease control zone map.


BTV-3 announcement - 03/02/2024

Following active surveillance of premises in the Norfolk temporary control zone (TCZ), 3 new cases of bluetongue in cattle have been confirmed at a premises near Hales.

BTV-3 announcement - 02/02/2024

Following active surveillance of premises in the Norfolk temporary control zone (TCZ), 3 new cases of bluetongue in cattle have been confirmed at a premises near Hales.

RH&W BTV-3 announcement - 01/02/2024

Seasonally vector low period announced for bluetongue

Defra has announced that we are now in a seasonally vector low period when midge activity is much lower, leading to some changes to disease control measures for BTV-3.

BTV-3 is the new strain of bluetongue currently being found in northern Europe and UK and is mainly transmitted via biting midge, affecting cattle, goats, sheep and camelids such as llamas.

“The current weather conditions and time of year mean that Culicoides – the type of midge able to spread viruses, such as BTV-3, are highly unlikely to transmit the virus to livestock,” explains Dr Marion England, Institute Fellow in Vector Ecology at The Pirbright Institute.

“Under these conditions, midges previously infected with BTV-3 are currently highly unlikely to transmit the virus.

Read more: Seasonally vector low period announced for bluetongue – Ruminant Health & Welfare (ruminanthw.org.uk)

BTV-3 announcement - 01/02/2024

Following active surveillance of premises in the Norfolk temporary control zone (TCZ), 3 new cases of bluetongue in cattle and 1 case in a sheep have been confirmed at two premises within the ownership near Surlingham.

Now we are in a seasonally vector low period, the positive animals will not be culled but will be restricted at their current locations and disease mitigation measures will be taken. The TCZ is not being extended.

Find details of all bluetongue disease control zones in England, including rules you must follow in these areas. Movement restrictions in the zone apply to cattle, sheep, deer, camelids and other ruminants.

BTV-3 announcement - 30/01/2024

Following active surveillance of premises in the Norfolk temporary control zone (TCZ), 4 new cases of bluetongue in cattle have been confirmed in animals that were grazing within the TCZ during the high risk period.

The positive animals will not be culled but will be restricted at their current locations and disease mitigation measures will be taken. This reflects a recent reduction in the midge activity, reducing the risk of onward transmission. The TCZ is not being extended.

Find details of all bluetongue disease control zones in England, including rules you must follow in these areas. Movement restrictions in the zone apply to cattle, sheep, deer, camelids and other ruminants.

BTV-3 announcement - 29/01/2024

Following active surveillance of premises in the Norfolk temporary control zone (TCZ), 2 further cases of bluetongue have been confirmed in cattle on a holding near Norwich.

The positive animals will not be culled but will be restricted at their current locations and disease mitigation measures will be taken. This reflects a recent reduction in the midge activity, reducing the risk of onward transmission.

As these 2 animals were grazing on land just outside of the TCZ during the high-risk period, the TCZ has been extended. Find details of all bluetongue disease control zones in England, including rules you must follow in these areas.

Movement restrictions in the extended zone apply to cattle, sheep, deer, camelids and other ruminants.

BTV-3 announcement - 23/01/2024

Following active surveillance of premises in the north-east Kent temporary control zone (TCZ), one further case of bluetongue has been confirmed in a cow at a premises near Canterbury.  

The positive animal will not be culled at this time, but it will be restricted at its current location and disease mitigation measures will be taken. This reflects a recent reduction in the midge activity, reducing the risk of onward transmission. The TCZ is not being extended and movement restrictions continue to apply to cattle, sheep, deer, camelids and other ruminants in the zone.

RH&W BTV-3 update - 23/01/2024

With bluetongue surveillance underway in the temporary control zone (TCZ), existing licences, timescales and the type of animal movements allowed is being constantly reviewed with the Defra and APHA veterinary advisors.

For the latest information and to apply for a specific licence to move animals in, out or within a bluetongue disease control zone, visit Bluetongue: apply for a specific movement licence – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

A list of designated abattoirs that can slaughter animals from the free area and from within a TCZ is available here, Bluetongue: apply for a specific movement licence – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

If you have further questions or you would like to speak to someone, please call the bluetongue hotline: 024 7771 0386

BTV-3 announcement - 21/01/2024

Following active surveillance of premises in the  Norfolk TCZ temporary control zone (TCZ), one further case of bluetongue has been confirmed in a cow at another new premises near Reedham.  

The positive animal will be humanely culled to minimise the risk of onward transmission. The TCZ is not being extended and movement restrictions continue to apply to cattle, sheep, deer, camelids and other ruminants in the zone.

Check if you’re in a zone on the bluetongue disease control zone map.

BTV-3 announcement - 19/01/2024

Following active surveillance of premises in the Norfolk TCZ temporary control zone (TCZ), a further case of bluetongue has been confirmed in a cow at a new premises near Reedham.

BTV-3 announcement - 18/01/2024

Following active surveillance of premises in the  Norfolk TCZ temporary control zone (TCZ), one further case of bluetongue has been confirmed in a cow that has been grazing in the TCZ near St Olaves. 

The positive animal will be humanely culled to minimise the risk of onward transmission. The TCZ is not being extended and movement restrictions continue to apply to cattle, sheep, deer, camelids and other ruminants in the zone.

Check if you’re in a zone on the bluetongue disease control zone map.

BTV-3 announcement - 15/01/2024

Following active surveillance in the north-east Kent temporary control zone (TCZ), one further case of bluetongue in sheep has been identified on a premises near Aylesham in the existing TCZ.

The positive animal will be humanely culled to minimise the risk of onward transmission. The TCZ is not being extended and movement restrictions continue to apply to cattle, sheep, deer, camelids and other ruminants in the zone.

Check if you’re in a zone on the bluetongue disease control zone map.

BTV-3 announcement - 12/01/2024

Following active surveillance in the Norfolk temporary control zone (TCZ), one further case of bluetongue in cattle has been identified on a premises near Limpenhoe in the existing TCZ.

The positive animal will be humanely culled to minimise the risk of onward transmission. The TCZ is not being extended and movement restrictions continue to apply to cattle, sheep, deer, camelids and other ruminants in the zone.

This brings the total number of bluetongue cases in England to 50 infected animals on 27 premises. There is still no evidence that bluetongue virus is currently circulating in midges in Great Britain. Surveillance is ongoing.

Check if you’re in a zone on the bluetongue disease control zone map.

BTV-3 announcement - 11/01/2024

Following active surveillance in the Norfolk temporary control zone (TCZ), one further case of bluetongue in cattle has been identified on a premises near Limpenhoe in the existing TCZ.

Following active surveillance in the north-east Kent temporary control zone (TCZ), one further case of bluetongue in a sheep has been identified at a new location in the existing TCZ, in the Canterbury area.

Both positive animals will be humanely culled to minimise the risk of onward transmission. The TCZs are not being extended and movement restrictions continue to apply to cattle, sheep, deer, camelids and other ruminants in the zone.

This brings the total number of bluetongue cases in England to 49 infected animals on 27 premises. There is still no evidence that bluetongue virus is currently circulating in midges in Great Britain. Surveillance is ongoing.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bluetongue

RH&W BTV-3 announcement - 09/01/2024

Norfolk farmers and other stakeholders invited to bluetongue in-person meeting

A farmer focussed bluetongue meeting is being organised for Monday 15 January by key industry organisations working together to provide support and information for farmers and vets in the Norfolk Temporary Control Zone (TCZ).

Chairing the meeting will be Hugh Broom, NFU East livestock board member, and Dan Phipps, NSA Chairman.

“There are now over 40 confirmed cases of the most recent strain of bluetongue – BTV-3, across Norfolk and Kent TCZs, so this urgent meeting is being held to provide the latest updates for farmers and vets,” explains Mr Broom.

Mr Phipps shares why a collaborative approach is important: “By bringing together representatives and experts across key industry organisations, we hope to help build vital networks within the TCZ in Norfolk.

Norfolk farmers and other stakeholders invited to bluetongue in-person meeting – Ruminant Health & Welfare (ruminanthw.org.uk)

BTV-3 announcement - 09/01/24

Following active surveillance in the north-east Kent temporary control zone (TCZ), 1 further case of bluetongue in cattle has been identified in the existing TCZ in the Deal area.

The positive animal will be humanely culled to minimise the risk of onward transmission. The TCZ is not being extended and movement restrictions continue to apply to cattle, sheep, camelids and other ruminants in the zone.

This brings the total number of cases in England to 45 infected animals on 25 premises. There is still no evidence that bluetongue virus is currently circulating in midges in Great Britain. Surveillance is ongoing.

To find out if you’re in a zone, visit the bluetongue disease control zone map.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bluetongue

BTV-3 announcement - 08/01/24

Following active surveillance in the Norfolk temporary control zone (TCZ), 4 further cases of bluetongue in cattle have been identified on 2 new premises in the existing TCZ.

All 4 animals will be humanely culled to minimise the risk of onward transmission. The TCZ is not being extended and movement restrictions continue to apply to cattle, sheep, camelids and other ruminants in the zone.

This brings the total number of cases in England to 44 infected animals on 24 premises. There is still no evidence that bluetongue virus is currently circulating in midges in Great Britain. Surveillance is ongoing.

To find out if you’re in a zone, visit the bluetongue disease control zone map.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bluetongue

BTV-3 announcement - 05/01/24

Following active surveillance in the north-east Kent Temporary Control Zone (TCZ), 1 further case of bluetongue in a bull has been identified in the existing TCZ in the Deal area.

The animal will be humanely culled to minimise the risk of onward transmission. The TCZ is not being extended and movement restrictions continue to apply to cattle, sheep and other ruminants in the zone.

This brings the total number of cases in England to 36 infected animals on 20 premises. There is still no evidence that bluetongue virus is currently circulating in midges in Great Britain. Surveillance is ongoing.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bluetongue

BTV-3 announcement - 24/12/23

Following active surveillance in the north-east Kent Temporary Control Zone (TCZ), 1 further case of bluetongue in a cow has been identified in the Sandwich Bay area in the TCZ.

The animal will be humanely culled to minimise the risk of onward transmission. The TCZ is not being extended and movement restrictions continue to apply to cattle, sheep and other ruminants in the zone.

This brings the total number of cases in England to 35 infected animals on 18 premises. There is still no evidence that bluetongue virus is currently circulating in midges in Great Britain. Surveillance is ongoing.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bluetongue

BTV-3 announcement - 22/12/23

Following active surveillance in the north-east Kent Temporary Control Zone (TCZ), 4 further cases of bluetongue in cattle have been identified in the Sandwich Bay area in the TCZ. 3 of the cases are located on a new holding.

The animals will be humanely culled to minimise the risk of onward transmission. The TCZ is not being extended and movement restrictions continue to apply to cattle, sheep and other ruminants in the zone.

This brings the total number of cases in England to 34 infected animals on 18 premises. There is still no evidence that bluetongue virus is currently circulating in midges in Great Britain. Surveillance is ongoing.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bluetongue

BTV-3 announcement - 21/12/23

Following active surveillance in the north-east Kent Temporary Control Zone (TCZ), 3 further cases of bluetongue in cattle have been identified on a new holding in the Sandwich Bay area in the TCZ.

The animals will be humanely culled to minimise the risk of onward transmission. The TCZ is not being extended and movement restrictions continue to apply to cattle, sheep and other ruminants in the zone.

This brings the total number of cases in England to 30 infected animals on 17 premises with 12 different keepers. There is still no evidence that bluetongue virus is currently circulating in midges in Great Britain. Surveillance is ongoing.

BTV-3 announcement - 20/12/23

Update 2

Following active surveillance in the Norfolk Temporary Control Zone (TCZ), a further case of bluetongue in cattle has been identified. The keeper has been notified and the animal will be humanely culled to minimise the risk of onward transmission.

The TCZ will not be extended, and movement restrictions continue to apply to cattle, sheep and other ruminants in the zone.

This brings the total number of cases in England to 27 infected animals on 16 premises with 11 different keepers. There is still no evidence that bluetongue virus is currently circulating in midges in Great Britain. Surveillance is ongoing.

Update 1
Following active surveillance in the Norfolk Temporary Control Zone (TCZ), a further 2 cases of bluetongue in cattle have been identified.  The cattle were on 2 separate premises within the ownership of a single family business. 

Following active surveillance in the Kent TCZ, a further infected animal has been detected on a premises near Sandwich in Kent.

All 3 animals will be humanely culled to minimise the risk of onward transmission. The 2 TCZs will not be extended and movement restrictions continue to apply to cattle, sheep and other ruminants in the zone.

This brings the total number of cases in England to 26 infected animals on 15 premises with 10 different keepers. There is still no evidence that bluetongue virus is currently circulating in midges in Great Britain. Surveillance is ongoing.

RH&W BTV-3 announcement - 18/12/23

Further bluetongue cases confirmed in Temporary Control Zone.

Further cases of BTV3 have been confirmed over the weekend within the existing Temporary Control Zone (TCZ) in Kent, however there has been a positive development that a designation has been confirmed for the ABP Guildford abattoir.

This is the first abattoir outside the TCZ to be able to accept animals for slaughter from the TCZ. 

“Whether for welfare needs or to send to slaughter, if farmers need to move animals at all, we’d encourage them to apply now, even if you don’t know if a licence is available at this moment in time.”

Details regarding how to apply for a movement licence can be found on the following website: Bluetongue: apply for a specific movement licence – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

BTV-3 announcement - 17/12/23

Following active surveillance in the north-east Kent Temporary Control Zone (TCZ), a further case of bluetongue in a sheep has been identified on a new holding in the Sandwich Bay area in the TCZ.

The animal will be humanely culled to minimise the risk of onward transmission. The TCZ is not being extended and movement restrictions continue to apply to cattle, sheep and other ruminants in the zone.

This brings the total number of cases to 23. There is currently still no evidence that bluetongue virus is circulating in Great Britain. Surveillance is ongoing.

Check if you’re in a zone on the bluetongue disease control zone map.

BTV-3 announcement - 16/12/23

Following active surveillance in the north-east Kent Temporary Control Zone (TCZ), a further 3 cases of bluetongue in cattle have been identified in the Sandwich Bay area from the same herd as the 5 positives confirmed yesterday on 15 December.  

The holding is situated in the existing TCZ

All 3 animals will be humanely culled to minimise the risk of onward transmission. The TCZ is not being extended and movement restrictions continue to apply to cattle, sheep and other ruminants in the zone.

This brings the total number of cases to 22 on 8 different holdings. There is currently still no evidence that bluetongue virus is circulating in Great Britain. Surveillance is ongoing.

Check if you’re in a zone on the bluetongue disease control zone map.

BTV-3 announcement - 15/12/23

Following active surveillance in the north-east Kent Temporary Control Zone (TCZ), a further 5 cases of bluetongue in cattle have been identified on a holding in the Sandwich Bay area. 

The holding is situated in the existing TCZ

All 5 animals will be humanely culled to minimise the risk of onward transmission. The TCZ is not being extended and movement restrictions continue to apply to cattle, sheep and other ruminants in the TCZ.

This brings the total number of cases to 19 on 8 different holdings. There is currently still no evidence that bluetongue virus is circulating in Great Britain. Surveillance is ongoing.

Check if you’re in a zone on the bluetongue disease control zone map.

 

BTV-3 announcement - 14/12/23

Following active surveillance in the north-east Kent Temporary Control Zone (TCZ), a further 3 cases of bluetongue in cattle have been identified on a holding in the Sandwich Bay area. The holding is situated in the existing TCZ.

Guidance on ‘Importing animals from bluetongue affected countries‘ has also been updated.

BTV-3 announcement - 08/12/23

Following routine surveillance, a further 2 cases of bluetongue in cattle have been identified on a farm near Cantley, Broadland, Norfolk.  A 10km temporary control zone (TCZ) has been declared around the premises and both animals will be humanely culled to minimise the risk of onward transmission. Movement restrictions apply to cattle, sheep and other ruminants.

 

This brings the total number of cases to 11 on 6 different premises. There is currently no evidence that bluetongue virus is circulating in Great Britain. Surveillance is ongoing. 

BTV-3 announcement - 07/12/23

Following active surveillance in the temporary control zone (TCZ), a ninth case of bluetongue serotype 3 has been confirmed in a single sheep, on a mixed cattle and sheep farm in the existing TCZ. There is currently no evidence that there is circulating virus. Surveillance is ongoing.

RH&W BTV-3 announcement - 06/12/23

Additional Bluetongue cases confirmed 

Following active surveillance within the temporary control zone (TCZ), two further cases have been identified taking the total number of cases to seven. Both cases are linked to a holding with previously confirmed cases of bluetongue serotype 3 (BTV-3).

RH&W BTV-3 announcement - 27/11/23

New cases confirmed

Following active surveillance within the 10km temporary control zone (TCZ), a further four cases of bluetongue serotype 3 (BTV-3) have been identified in cattle on two additional farms.

RH&W BTV-3 announcement - 20/11/23

Farmer hotline available

Farmers in and around the Temporary Control Zone (TCZ), can now access and call a dedicated bluetongue hotline to get advice or ask questions linked to the current situation.

  • All farmers and keepers of animals can access the bluetongue hotline: 024 7771 0386
  • NFU members can also access the CallFirst hotline: 0370 845 8458

RH&W BTV-3 announcement - 17/11/23

Bluetongue surveillance in TCZ

Defra is working on developing policies for the movement of animals within the temporary control zone (TCZ) and we will update those affected regularly with advice as appropriate.

RH&W BTV-3 announcement - 16/11/23

Advice on temporary control zone (TCZ)

Following confirmation of a case of the bluetongue virus new emerging strain (BTV-3) in a single cow on a farm near Canterbury, Kent, a temporary control zone (TCZ) has been instigated.

The 10km TCZ has been put in place surrounding the farm while the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) undertakes further investigations.

RH&W BTV-3 announcement - 13/11/23

Bluetongue case confirmed in UK

A case of the new emerging strain of bluetongue virus (BTV-3) has been confirmed in a single cow on a farm near Canterbury, Kent, following routine surveillance by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

RH&W BTV-3 announcement - 11/10/23

Farmers urged to be beware, take action and be vigilant for new strain of bluetongue virus

Following reports of a new strain of bluetongue virus (BTV-3) emerging and spreading rapidly in the Netherlands, there is increasing concern about the situation and its proximity to the UK.