Bluetongue (blue tongue): Third case confirmed

Bluetongue (blue tongue) has been confirmed in a third animal on a farm near Lowestoft in Suffolk.

This new case is nearly 50 miles from the first two cases at Baylam, Ipswich.

DEFRA has said there is insufficient evidence to confirm an active outbreak of bluetongue, as it remains unclear if the disease is circulating or whether it is the “result of a single incursion” of infected midges from northern Europe.

Discussions are currently underway between DEFRA and key stakeholders to establish what measures should be taken should the outbreak be confirmed.

DEFRA have said that any action will be in line with the UK Bluetongue Control Strategy, published this August.

Epidemiological investigations continue in order to establish if bluetongue is circulating in the UK.

Risk-based contingency plans, first announced yesterday afternoon (24 September), have been reviewed and farm to farm movements in Norfolk and Suffolk consequently will not be permitted as of 3.30pm today.

This will also apply for Essex, but as the county is already in the foot and mouth risk area, movements would already be restricted.

Chief vet Debby Reynolds urged animal keepers to proceed with permitted movements with caution while foot and mouth and bluetongue are present in the UK.