Bluetongue levels rise in France, risk level of reaching the UK downgraded

To date there has been 283 new outbreaks of Bluetongue disease reported in France during the month of November, figures from the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) show.

This brings the total number of Bluetongue outbreaks in France to 903, with most cases reporting between one to five animals infected. 

Regarding outbreaks of the disease, during the month of November there was a total of 35,958 animals susceptible, while 403 cases were confirmed. 

So far in November case have only been reported in cattle, with herds varying in size from three to 505, figures show.

All of the cases were detected as part of active surveillance and as part of pre-movement testing, while two animals were reported to have died from the disease.

As a result of these new outbreaks, the extent of the restriction zone has changed and is now just reaching the northern coast of France.

However the zone still remains a significant distance from the UK coast, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Updated restriction zone for Bluetongue disease in France.
Updated restriction zone for Bluetongue disease in France Source: DEFRA

Primarily the disease has been focused in the central regions of France, but outbreaks of the disease have been reported in northern parts of the country.

Meanwhile, outbreaks of the disease have also been reported in European countries such as Cyprus, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and Serbia during the month of November.

Risk Level Status in the UK

Despite the restriction zone being the closest to the UK that it has been this season DEFRA has decided to lower its risk level for a number of reasons.

The decision was taken due to Met Office predictions suggesting that average temperature in the UK and Northern France are dropping.

With average temperatures now well below 15 degrees and wind direction set to be predominantly north-westerly the possibility of virus circulation in local midge populations in the UK is low, DEFRA said.

Equally, the wind assisted movement of midges from France to the UK is very unlikely.

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