88 confirmed cases of bluetongue in France, 2.2m vaccines available

There are now 88 cases of bluetongue in France, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has confirmed.

Of the 88 cases, some 79 cases are cattle and nine are sheep.

The disease, which is transferred by insects such as midges, is not transmissible to humans and does not affect the quality of food.

Some 28 farms have been infected by bluetongue, the OIE has confirmed.

In response to the increased number of cases of the disease, the French agricultural ministry has increased the number of vaccines available from 1.3m to 2.2m.

The ministry said that beyond the protection of infected flocks, priority would be given vaccination animals intended for trade and exports as well as breeding animals intended for breeding programmes breeds (cattle, sheep, goats).

A protection zone and surveillance of 150km radius around the affected farm has been set.

In this area and in accordance with European regulations, management measures are implemented: restriction of movement of animals, regrouping ban, active surveillance and so on, the French government said.

Domestic ruminants such as cattle, sheep and goats are susceptible to bluetongue and mainland France has been free from the disease since 2012.

The French agricultural minister Stephane Le Foll has contacted the European Commissioners for health and agriculture to inform them of the health situation and management measures implemented by France.

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