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BVA Warns Livestock Importers About Bluetongue Infection Risk

15 years ago

6th July, 2007 00h00

Three specialist divisions of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) today issued a joint statement urging livestock farmers to be vigilant and carefully consider the risk of infections when importing cattle into the UK. The three BVA divisions specialise in farm animal health and include the British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA), the Sheep Veterinary Society (SVS) and the Goat Veterinary Society (GVS). The vets point out that while the current risk to UK livestock is low there is a constant risk of infection from the Bluetongue virus by the importation of infected animals as well as airborne drift of infected midges across the Channel. Given that at present there is no vaccine available against Bluetongue virus Serotype 8, the strain presently in Northern Europe, and that topical insecticidal treatment has not proved to be an effective method of controlling the midge, they are urging farmers to balance the potential long-term consequences against the need to import animals. If importation is the only option measures to help reduce the risk of infection, although by no means eliminate it, they say should include avoiding transit through restricted areas, or at least non-stop transit during daylight hours only and avoiding dawn and dusk when midges are most active. Commenting on the divisions’ statement Chief Veterinary Officer, Debby Reynolds, said: "We believe the risk of infection posed to livestock by midges is slight, but we are continuing to work with the industry to try and reduce these risks further. Any measures the industry can take to reduce the risk should be welcomed and encouraged."

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