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Bluetongue restrictions eased
There have been more than 80 cases of BTV-3 since November.
Farmers are asked to remain vigilant.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has eased some of its Bluetongue virus (BTV) restrictions following a reduction in midge activity.

Infected animals are no longer being culled in cases where test results indicate an older infection and the presence of BTV antibodies. However, infected animals may still be restricted at their current locations and other measures taken to mitigate the spread of the disease.

Restrictions for moving livestock within and into the Kent and Norfolk Temporary Control Zones are also being eased. Live animals will be allowed out of the zones if they meet certain conditions, including testing negative in pre-movement tests.

The change in approach comes as the affected areas enter a seasonally low vector period. Midges, which spread the disease, are no longer feeding, and low temperatures mean that the virus cannot replicate in midges, reducing the risk of transmission further.

Surveillance measures are continuing and cases are still being detected in the existing TCZs. A new case was confirmed at a premises near Reedham in the Norfolk TCZ yesterday (6 February), bringing the total number of cases to 85 since the BTV-3 strain was first identified in England in November.

Christine Middlemiss, chief veterinary officer, said: “These detections are an example of our robust disease surveillance procedures in action and it is also a clear reminder for farmers that the disease remains a threat, despite coming towards the end of the midge activity season.

“We are now in a seasonally low vector period, when midge activity is much lower and there is reduced risk of disease, however I urge farmers to remain vigilant and report any suspicions to APHA.”

Image © Shutterstock

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Special imports digital service set to change

News Story 1
 From Monday, 15 July, Special Import Certificate (SIC) applications will only be accepted via the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's (VMD's) new special imports digital service.

The original online special import scheme will be decommissioned. The VMD says that the new service is easier to use, more secure and reliable, and meets accessibility legislation.

The VMD is urging veterinary surgeons who have not yet signed up for the new service to do so before 15 July. The new digital service can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
RCVS course explains concerns process

A free, online course from the RCVS Academy has been launched, designed to clarify RCVS' concerns procedure.

The content will give veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses a better understanding of the process, and what they can expect if a concern is raised about them. It includes details of common concerns.

The interactive resource has been developed in collaboration with Clare Stringfellow, case manager in the RCVS Professional Conduct Team.

Ms Stringfellow said: "We appreciate that concerns can be very worrying, and we hope that, through this course, we can give vets and nurses a better understanding of the process and how to obtain additional support."

The course can be accessed via the RCVS Academy. Users are encouraged to record their learning for CPD.