Cattle found with bluetongue in Belgium for first time in 10 years

Bluetongue has been confirmed in Belgium in what is believed to be the first outbreak of the disease strain since December 2008, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Belgium reported an outbreak of bluetongue serotype 8 on Wednesday, March 27 last, according to the department update on the matter.

The outbreak was confirmed on February 19, occurring in the south of the country in the Luxembourg region.

A total of eight bovine animals were affected in a susceptible population of 785; bluetongue virus (BTV) control measures and restrictions will now apply to the whole of Belgium, according to the department.

Meanwhile, continuing from an update issued in January 2018, the BTV 8 situation in Germany is ongoing and the German authorities have reported a total of 50 outbreaks there since January 1, 2019.

Elsewhere in Europe, Italy, Greece and Spain have also reported outbreaks of bluetongue since January 1 last.

France has reported no outbreaks yet this year but a total of 666 outbreaks were reported during 2018 and the whole of France remains restricted for BTV serotypes 8 and 4.

Source: Department of Agriculture

The department implements a risk-based post import testing protocol whereby all ruminant animals originating from or transiting through BTV affected counties are sampled for BTV on their arrival in Ireland.

From now on, all ruminant animals originating from Belgium will be tested for bluetongue as part of this post-import testing protocol, the department confirmed.