Bluetongue threat to European cattle

VETS in Belgium and Holland have reported that large numbers of the midges which carry bluetongue disease have become active in the past few days.

Farmers have been warned to watch for symptoms, and urged to vaccinate stock.

The midge is adapting to north European weather, and the World Animal Health Organisation says it could now spread over most of the European continent.

However, Ireland has remained free of the disease.

In Britain, vets and farmers have started vaccinating sheep and cattle against bluetongue.

Midges — which live for 10 to 14 days — can fly up to 2km a day, but can travel passively on the wind up to 200km.

They are believed to have recently carried a new strain of the disease to the northern shores of Australia, on monsoonal winds. This is the ninth different bluetongue serotype to be isolated in northern Australia cattle to date.

In 2006, a new strain, serotype 8, began to circulate in northern Europe, appearing for the first time in Britain last year.


Lifestyle

We had our first filling last weekend.Learner Dad: As long as other people gave their kids more sugar than we gave ours, we assumed we didn’t have a problem

Experts on bedroom style reveal their top tips to Gabrielle Fagan, so you can create your perfect sleeping space.Let’s go to bed: How to create the cosy winter retreat you’ve always dreamed of

Sink your teeth into our top tips for Halloween dental care.Dental shock: Save your child's teeth from the ‘horrors’ of Halloween

More From The Irish Examiner