Published Date: 2017-05-27 17:10:47
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Bluetongue - Europe (02): (France) bovine, st 8, spread susp, assessment
Archive Number: 20170527.5066624
BLUETONGUE - EUROPE (02): (FRANCE) BOVINE, SEROTYPE 8, SPREAD SUSPECTED, ASSESSMENT
A ProMED-mail post http://www.promedmail.org
ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases http://www.isid.org
Date: Fri 26 May 2017
Source: Farmers Guardian Insight [edited]
Officials raised concern for south-easterly farmers as the disease currently lies only 150km [93.20 mi] from the English south coast.
UK chief vet Nigel Gibbens said farmers should consider vaccination and be aware of symptoms, including: mouth ulcers; drooling; swelling of the mouth; head and neck; fever; lameness and breathing problems.
He said: "Our latest assessment shows the risk of outbreak in the UK is currently low, but the detection of the virus in northern France is a timely reminder for farmers to remain vigilant for disease and report any suspicions to the Animal and Plant Health Agency".
"I would also encourage farmers to talk to their vet to consider if vaccination would benefit their business."
Risk of bluetongue recirculating in the UK is said to be low but farmers have been warned to be sensible about buying cattle from infected areas.
If the disease survives its stint across the English channel from France - which is likely - the south and south-east of England could be looking at at least an 80 percent chance of infection.
But as the midge-borne virus often struggles to survive across land, the likelihood it would travel upland to Scotland and north England is fairly low.
George Caldow, head of SAC consulting veterinary services, said if bluetongue was to hit the UK, it would likely be stamped out early.
He said: "The situation is as it has been; the risk of incursion in the UK is moderate."
"Currently the advice from Scottish government is that livestock keepers should familiarize themselves with the signs of disease, be vigilant when inspecting their stock and avoid purchasing stock that may have passed through or originate from areas of mainland Europe that are currently under restriction."
Vaccine producer Zoetis urged livestock farmers to vaccinate sheep and cattle ahead of the active midge season, May to October, to protect the free trading of stock.
It came as the pharmaceutical's national vet manager Carolyn Hogan warned the risk had 'not gone away' after more than 560 cases already recorded in France since December . She added: "France is still picking up cases and as temperatures rise and midge activity increases, the risk of a disease incursion into the UK is likely to rise again."
"From the point of an animal being vaccinated to being protected from disease is over 6 weeks."
"If bluetongue was to arrive and you were placed under movement restrictions, you need to ask yourself whether you can afford not to move stock for 6 weeks."
[Byline: Lauren Dean]
Castleview English Longhorns
[For the updated assessment of BTV-8 in France, composed by DEFRA Veterinary & Science Policy Advice Team (International Disease Monitoring), as published on Fri, 26 May 2017, please refer to the reference VITT/1200 BTV-8 in France, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/616106/btv-8-france-update18.pdf.
According to the said document, BTV has recently been detected in the Seine Maritime département (map at http://tinyurl.com/ybrflyg4). The closest location there, with positive test results, was within 150 km [93.20 mi] of the UK mainland. According to the ADNS report, the said holding consists of a herd of 261 cattle of which 2 tested positive, although only 60 would have been tested as part of sentinel surveillance. No clinical signs were reported but the national reference laboratory confirmed the animals had also seroconverted, which would indicate the animals were infected earlier in the year, but whether they are still infectious will depend on the level of viraemia, which is not known.
The DEFRA team concluded:
1. Only one report has been made in this northern region of France, and there is no reported evidence from French authorities that BTV-8 is circulating in local midge populations or spreading to other animals and therefore it seems that it is not widely circulating in the area of Northern France;
2. The climate and environment in southern England are suitable to support a low level of virus circulation, as seen in the last historical BTV-8 circulation in the UK in 2007;
3. The vector season has most recently started with average daily temperatures well above 12 C [53.6 F] and therefore virus transmission can occur;
4. Records of wind direction and humidity and temperature factors suggest that on only one of the last 10 days would conditions have been suitable for wind assisted spread of Culicoides midges from northern France to England;
5. Testing of animals in South and South East England in 2016 demonstrated a significant proportion of cattle herds had some level of antibody response using a bulk milk test, which could be indicative of vaccination status or previous (historical) infection, dating back several years;
6. DEFRA's disease modeling has shown that even in a warm spring, only a few midge incursions will cause active infections and this will depend on the proportion of no vaccinated animals in England, the level of infection in France, average daily temperatures and vector activity.
7. A census of the animal population demographic in the relevant coastal area of Sussex and Kent suggests this is a relatively low density area, with fewer than 200 cattle herds of which only 14 would be considered large dairy herds (> 200 animals) and around 300 sheep flocks of which 38 have more than 150 sheep and 14 have more than 500 sheep. Cattle tend to be more attractive to the _Culicoides obsoletus complex_ of midges than sheep, and the larger the herd size, the higher the risk of infection being introduced.
8. Although vaccination has not been mandatory in the UK in the past few years, vaccine has been made available to farmers since July 2016.
9. Defra's methods of detecting an incursion include horizon scanning, a passive surveillance system, a post import testing regime and an opportunistic surveillance system which gives us a good level of confidence that disease is not currently circulating in the UK.
Conclusions: According to DEFRA's meteorological modeling the current temperatures, humidity and wind direction mean the probability of incursion of BTV via infected midges from France to the UK is low. This single case in northern France does not change the risk level. As mentioned above, it is unclear at present whether the new reported positive tests in north France are due to sentinel animals testing positive for the 1st time.
BTV-8 vaccine has been available for the GB market since mid-July 2016, and the decision to vaccinate will be taken by the farmer, which the GB authorities have encouraged all of them to consider, in consultation with their private veterinary surgeon. - Mod.AS
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