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APHA lifts bluetongue Temporary Control Zones
There have been more than 100 confirmed cases of bluetongue since November.
Surveillance procedures remain in place.

From today (19 February), the Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA) has lifted the Temporary Control Zones (TCZs) brought in to tackle the spread of bluetongue.

However, APHA says that officials will stay in close contact with livestock keepers within the affected areas in Norfolk, Suffolk and Kent.

Restrictions will remain in place for positive high-risk animals and for premises that were in the TCZs which are yet to be sampled. Surveillance efforts and epidemiological assessments will also continue.

The easing of restrictions comes at a time when the risk of the disease spreading is considered to be low due to a seasonal drop in midge activity.

The Kent TCZ had been in place since November 2023, when a case of bluetongue virus serotype 3 was confirmed in a cow near Canterbury. The Norfolk TCZ was introduced in December and was later expanded to include part of Suffolk. As of today, there have been 112 cases.

Christine Middlemiss, the UK’s chief veterinary officer, said: “We are now in a seasonally low vector period, when midge activity is much lower and there is reduced risk of disease, meaning we can lift the temporary control zones.

“However, our robust disease surveillance procedures continue, and I urge farmers to remain vigilant and report any suspicions to APHA.”

Aled Edwards, APHA’s head of field delivery England, added: “APHA teams will continue to work closely with farmers to ensure that keepers and businesses are kept up to date, and that questions and concerns are addressed promptly.”

Image © Shutterstock

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Reporting service for dead wild birds updated

News Story 1
 The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has updated its online reporting service for dead wild birds.

The new version allows those reporting a dead bird to drop a pin on a map when reporting the location. It also includes a wider range of wild bird species groups to select from when describing the bird.

The online service, which helps APHA to monitor the spread of diseases such as avian influenza, can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
NI chief vet urges bluetongue vigilance

Northern Ireland's chief veterinary officer (CVO) has urged farmers to be vigilant for signs of bluetongue, after the Animal and Plant Health Agency warned there was a very high probability of further cases in Great Britain.

There have been 126 confirmed cases of bluetongue virus serotype 3 in England since November 2023, with no cases reported in Northern Ireland. The movement of live ruminants from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is currently suspended.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the virus is most likely to enter Northern Ireland through infected animals or germplasm (semen or ova) being imported.

Brian Dooher, Northern Ireland's CVO, said: "Surveillance for this disease within Northern Ireland has been increased to assist with detection at the earliest opportunity which will facilitate more effective control measures."

Farmers should report any suspicions of the disease to their private veterinary practitioner, the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840 or their local DAERA Direct Veterinary Office.