Bluetongue type six found in Holland

The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed the presence of bluetongue virus strain six on three farms near the country’s German border.

Earlier this week The Netherlands said there was a number of animals showing bluetongue symptoms which didn’t have either strain one or eight of the disease. Bluetongue strain six has not previously been found in Europe and is normally only known in southern Africa and central America.

The Ministry of Agriculture said, “The type of bluetongue detected earlier this week in eastern Netherlands appears to be type six.

“The voluntary vaccination campaign undertaken in The Netherlands has been targeting BTV8. Bluetongue strain six is found, among others places, in Central America and Africa.”

Announcing the discovery of type six, Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) Gerda Verburg said a so-called “containment zone” of 50km diameter had been placed around the infected farms.

“On Friday afternoon the EU reference laboratory in the United Kingdom confirmed the presence of Bluetongue serotype six virus. The measures published last Monday will be replaced by a new scheme, which applies to all ruminants such as cattle, sheep and goats.”

The measures applied in the containment zone of 50km around the infected farms, in the provinces Overijssel and Gelderland, east Netherlands, bordering Germany, include the allowance of the transport of animals for slaughter from the containment zone within the Netherlands, provided the farm has not experienced an outbreak for 30 days.

Stricter conditions apply to breeding and production animals: such animals will be allowed movement only if kept on midge-free holdings and following a negative test.

There is, at present, no vaccine against BTV6 available in Europe. Such vaccines are applied in the BTV6-infected areas elsewhere in the world. It is still unclear whether in the short term such vaccines can be applied in The Netherlands. The availability of the vaccines worldwide, their applicability and quantities are being checked.