31 March 1995

Warble fly warning

WARBLE fly, which until a couple of years ago had almost been eradicated in Britain, is back with a vengeance.

In 1993 the parasite was re-introduced with imported cattle. Now 26 premises in England, Scotland and Wales are under ministry restriction due to warble fly infection. It is likely other premises exist where the pest has not been identified and reported.

From now until July everyone keeping cattle should watch for signs of warble flies emerging through the back skin of their stock, warns MAFF vet Stella Bevan, who is in charge of the control campaign at the MAFF Central Veterinary Laboratory.

When tell-tale bumps are seen, farmers have a legal obligation to report this notifiable disease to MAFF, and treat infected stock.

Ms Bevan says there is no need for farmers to panic and take any preventative precautions other than watch their stock carefully over the next three months for emerging adult warble flies.

"Adults will be flying until September, and farmers should also watch for signs of gadding in their cattle through the summer months," advises Ms Bevan.

She said that when stock does become infested with larvae there are a wide range of treatments and vet advice on which one to use should be sought.

Ms Bevan also reminds those keeping deer and horses that their stock is vulnerable to warble fly attack.

&#8226 As part of an awareness campaign, MAFF will soon distribute a publicity leaflet about the problem in Britain.