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England to be Bluetongue Protection Zone in September

20 August 2008

UK - Defra has today confirmed that the Bluetongue Protection Zone will be extended into Northumberland and Cumbria shortly. However, this will not happen before 1 September unless the re-emergence of circulating disease requires it.

The intention is to roll out the Protection Zone to both Northumberland and Cumbria in one single extension, in line with scheduled vaccine delivery. This will complete the vaccination roll-out by bringing the whole of England into the Protection Zone.

This notice provides advance warning to livestock keepers in those areas into which the Protection Zone will be extended, allowing farmers to order vaccine to protect their stock and plan ahead with regard to the impact of movement restrictions. This is in line with the vaccination roll-out plan published in April, which outlines the criteria and considerations under which these changes are made.

Livestock keepers in the areas coming into the Protection Zone will be able to obtain the vaccine from the time they become part of the Zone; however, they are encouraged to order vaccine in advance through their vet. The vaccine will be available in 20ml, 50ml and 100ml bottles.

Protection Zone restrictions will apply to those keepers coming into the extended zone. Animals can only be moved out of the Protection Zone if they are vaccinated, naturally immune or moving for slaughter, subject to meeting certain conditions.

The time of year and weather conditions mean there is an increasing risk of re-emergence of disease in UK. – the absence of new cases in England so far is no cause for complacency. Bluetongue has recently been confirmed as circulating in the Netherlands and large areas of France. The threat to unvaccinated, susceptible livestock remains present and real.

Nigel Gibbens Chief Veterinary Officer said “As the conditions for midge activity become more favourable over the summer the likelihood of disease re-emergence increases. We are urging the industry to remain vigilant, and encouraging keepers to order vaccine as soon as possible. Vaccination is the only way to protect your animals during this high risk period.”

 


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