Farmers vigilant as Bluetongue found in Great Britain

Monday, 24 September, 2018

The Ulster Farmers’ Union is urging farmers to be vigilant following confirmation that cattle recently imported to England from France have tested positive for Bluetongue. The infected cattle entered the UK in early September and the virus was detected during routine post-movement testing.

UFU deputy president, David Brown said, “It is reassuring that the systems in place detected the disease quickly and swift action was taken. But it is a reminder to all livestock keepers of the importance of responsibly sourcing animals and to be fully aware of the potential risks when importing animals. Farmers should also be aware that they will not be eligible for compensation if an animal they import is found to have Bluetongue.”

The virus does not pose a threat to human health but it can have a serious impact on animal health causing reduced milk yields, infertility, and even death. Signs of the disease are eye and nasal discharge, drooling, swelling around the head or mouth, lethargy and lameness. “Northern Ireland has been Bluetongue free for a number of years and all cattle farmers want to keep it that way. Bluetongue is a notifiable disease and farmers should report any concerns immediately to DAERA,” said Mr Brown.