Bluetongue shows no sign of abating in France

Bluetongue outbreaks are continuing in France, six months on from when the first outbreak was reported.

Last week, the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) reported eight further outbreaks of the disease in the country.

Of the 2,268 cattle susceptible in the latest bout of outbreaks, 19 cases were identified, according to the OIE.

These eight outbreaks were found in central France and as with previous outbreaks certain control measures have been applied.

Movement controls in the country, screening and vaccination in response to bluetongue.

While there have been no warnings from the Irish Department of Agriculture, the UK equivalent, DEFRA has said that there is an 80% chance that UK farms will suffer a bluetongue outbreak before the end of the summer.

The report found that the disease will disease will most likely be spread by midges that are blown over from disease-outbreak regions in France.

However, it also said that this predicted outbreak is highly dependent on the level of disease on the continent, the proximity of the disease to the UK and the weather conditions.

Furthermore, the spread of bluetongue is also highly dependent on the French authorities ability to control this disease over the winter and early spring.


Risk of a bluetongue outbreak:
  • Cool spring – 12-15%.
  • Late summer – 33-60%.
  • End of summer – 60-80%.

While the French government has put movement controls in place, in an unusually hot year may this not slow down the spread of bluetongue, as there would be greater midge activity.