DEFRA has announced that the bluetongue protection zones will be extended on Monday 12 May, following the delivery of additional doses of bluetongue vaccine.Vaccination is only permitted within the protection zone.
To extend the coverage of the vaccination programme the two current protection zones are being merged, taking in all of Hampshire and West Sussex.
The protection zone will also be extended into all of Lincolnshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire.The surveillance zone is unaffected.A further 1 million doses of vaccine, available in 50-dose bottles, are available for use in the protection zone.Livestock keepers in the areas coming into the protection zone on Monday (12 May) will be able to obtain vaccine from that date.
They are encouraged to order vaccine now so that they can protect their livestock at the earliest opportunity.Animals can only be moved out of the protection zone if they are vaccinated, naturally immune or for slaughter, subject to meeting certain conditions.
DEFRA has also published an epidemiology report on the distribution of bluetongue infection in Great Britain, based on surveillance work up to 15 March.The evidence considered in the report suggests that bluetongue has not spread beyond the current protection zone boundaries.
“This supports our vaccination strategy, which has been devised to tackle the most at-risk areas first, gradually expanding the protection zone westward as more vaccine becomes available,” said a statement.