France 'fighting bluetongue outbreak'

FRANCE - France is fighting an outbreak of the livestock virus bluetongue disease, and there have been 2,246 cases, the French Agriculture Ministry said.
calendar icon 29 September 2007
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Earlier in the day, Britain confirmed its first outbreak of the disease.

The virus causes fever and mouth ulcers and in some cases turns an animal's tongue blue. It is transmitted by insects such as midges and can be highly dangerous to sheep and cows, although it does not affect humans.

France said it had set up protection zones in more than 40 departments, many of them in the north of the country.

It also set up "surveillance zones" in and around more than 20 departments

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