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Bluetongue Return in France Cause for Concern

11 August 2008

UK - A re-emergence of the Bluetongue Serotype 8 Virus in France has prompted the Ulster Farmers’ Union to urge the local farming industry to keep up its guard against the disease.

UFU President Graham Furey said; “Complacency is our biggest threat but it is clear that the disease is still active and has once again begun to spread in France.

We hope vaccination policies in Europe and in England and Wales will curtail the spread of the disease, but nevertheless the local industry must remain alert to this disease threat”.

The UFU says there have been over 1300 confirmed new cases of the virus on French farms in the past month. The new cases are concentrated along the front edge of last year's outbreak.

Graham Furey said; “The best way to keep Bluetongue out of Northern Ireland is to avoid bringing livestock into the Province. 2008 is a critical year for the spread of the disease and we should be doing everything possible in a collective effort to keep the disease out of Northern Ireland.

Livelihoods will be put at risk if Bluetongue emerges on local farms, so I am urging everyone in the industry to not take any unnecessary risks.

Generally farmers have heeded the import message and we are grateful to them for playing their part in protecting the industry.

Bluetongue serotype 8 virus has spread relentlessly across Northern Europe, costing producers millions of Euro. The island of Ireland remains Bluetongue free and we want to keep it that way”.


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