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The first ever case of Bluetongue disease in Britain has been found in a cow near Ipswich, Suffolk, say officials.
The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs website says: "Laboratory tests have detected the presence of Bluetongue in one cow on a premises near Ipswich, Suffolk.
"Bluetongue is a very different infection to Foot and Mouth Disease and the strategy to control it is therefore also different.
From the Netherlands "....An expert of the Europen Union states that nearly 10.000 farms in Europe are affected by Bluetongue. Numbers in the Netherland are close to 2000, in Germany more than 4000 cases are reported and Belgium counts ca. 2200. Last year saw the first occurence of Bluetongue in Western Europe with mostly cattle affected. This year more sheep are suffering from the disease. The disease is more serious in sheep with a mortality of nearly one in five animals. By the end of the year a vaccine should be available. Early next year could see the start of a vaccination campaign. "
September 22 2007 ~ "... I do object to the exclusion of the use of the more sophisticated and sensitive technology of real time RT-PCR as a first line screening test."
Ruth Watkins has concerns about surveillance and testing for bluetongue in the UK "... Now in the second year of bluetongue infection in Europe and with the midge numbers favoured by the weather, this year the exposure of animals will probably be different because there will be a greater number of infected midges and a greater number of bites - so that infected animals this year might be exposed to an inoculating dose of virus that is on average a thousand fold say greater than last year. ...It does of course change the focus of attitudes to vaccination even to FMD I am glad to hear the German vets advocating FMD control by vaccination to live without penalties greater than stamping out by culling. When it comes to bluetongue diagnosis I hope we will be doing what our European colleagues do and that is RT-PCR as well as serology. None of this penside testing with a lateral flow device to the exclusion of RT-PCR as the first line test for FMD. I don't have any objection to their use of the penside lateral flow device but I do object to the exclusion of the use of the more sophisticated and sensitive technology of real time RT-PCR as a first line screening test. "For more on the UK public sector's diagnostic capabilities, see Pirbright's Statement 10 on September 20th. We are grateful to the IAH for this openness - but deplore the lack of understanding and funding from the central government, depriving the public sector of the best in hi-tech equipment and limiting the expertise available to the UK in times of crisis.
A fourth animal is to be culled after testing positive for the bluetongue disease, Defra said.
The latest animal to contract the disease was on a third premises near Ipswich, Suffolk.
The strain, first detected on Saturday, is the same as one that has killed livestock in Europe but the UK cases are yet not classed as an outbreak.
The virus, spread by midges, is not thought to be harmful to humans but affects cattle, sheep, goats and deer.
A new temporary control zone has also been placed around a premises near Maiden., Berkshire, on suspicion of foot-and-mouth.