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Bluetongue detected in imported cattle
Bluetongue is a notifiable disease and any suspicions must be reported immediately to the APHA.
Movement restrictions in place at affected premises

The BVA is urging vets, farmers and government agencies to be vigilant after two imported cows tested positive for Bluetongue virus (BTV8).

On Monday (24 September), Defra announced the disease was successfully picked up in two cattle that had been imported from France through post-import testing. The APHA and the Pirbright Institute identified the disease in the animals when they were brought to Yorkshire from an assembly centre in central France.

Defra reports that the two cattle were isolated and have been humanely culled, adding that movement restrictions will remain in place on the premises ‘for at least several weeks’.  

Commenting, BVA senior vice president John Fishwick said: “We are reassured to see that the systems we have in place for post-movement testing have led to this disease being detected quickly, and appropriate action has been taken to safeguard animals in the area.

“However, this should act as a reminder that farmers, vets and government agencies must remain vigilant to the threat of disease spread. All livestock keepers should be reminded of the vital importance of responsible sourcing of animals, and of fully understanding the potential disease risks of importing from areas where disease is known to be circulating.

“Farmers should always consult their vet and act within their farm health plan when sourcing new animals. They should also discuss options such as vaccination as one of the main methods of disease control.
 
“Vets play a key role in animal health and disease monitoring in the UK and BVA will continue to work collaboratively with the UK Governments and the profession to modernise and enhance the UK’s disease surveillance networks across all species.”

Transmitted by midge bites, bluetongue can infect all ruminants, causing sickness, reducing milk yield and diminishing reproductive performance. In the most severe cases, the disease can be fatal.

Symptoms include nasal and eye discharge, drooling, swelling around the head or mouth, lethargy and lameness. Bluetongue does not affect humans, and meat and milk from infected animals are safe to consume.

Bluetongue is a notifiable disease and any suspicions must be reported immediately to the APHA and regional Field Services Offices in Scotland or to DAERA in Northern Ireland. For further advice on Bluetongue, contact the Defra Helpline on 03459 335577.

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New road sign to protect small wildlife

News Story 1
 Transport secretary Chris Grayling has unveiled a new road sign to help cut traffic accidents and protect small wildlife, particularly hedgehogs.

Local authorities and animal welfare groups are being asked to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign - which features a hedgehog - should be located.

Government figures show that more than 600 people were injured in road accidents involving animals in 2017, and four people were killed. These figures do not include accidents involving horses. The new sign will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.  

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News Shorts
NOAH members re-elect Jamie Brannan as chair

Jamie Brannan, senior Vice President of Zoetis, has been re-elected as chair of NOAH for 2019/20, during this year’s AGM, held in London.

Mr Brannan joined Zoetis and the NOAH board in 2016, becoming NOAH’s vice-chair in 2018 and replacing Gaynor Hillier as chair later that year.

He commented: “I am extremely pleased to have been elected by the NOAH membership and am proud to be able to represent our industry at such a critical time for the UK animal health industry. I look forward to driving forward our new NOAH Strategy and to working with our members, old and new, in the coming year.”