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Defra Concerned Over Bluetongue Complacency

16 December 2008

UK - The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), will continue to promote voluntary vaccination against Bluetongue serotype 8 (BTV 8), Jane Kennedy announced today.

Defra’s 2009 Delivery Plan for the vaccination of susceptible animals against BTV 8 has been developed in close partnership with industry stakeholders and continues the voluntary approach adopted this year.

There is a supply of 12 million doses of existing vaccine which Defra will make available for use next year, subject to expiry dates. Defra will not be underwriting further supplies of vaccine in 2009 but livestock keepers can purchase any of the three authorised BTV8 vaccines from Intervet, Merial or Fort Dodge. This flexibility provides farmers with a choice as to the best purchase options for their stock.

"In addition to the risk of re-emergence of disease in UK, France has had over 22,000 new cases this year"
Jane Kennedy, Minister for Farming and the Environment

Jane Kennedy, Minister for Farming and the Environment said:

“Although BTV 8 has not been found circulating in the UK this year, we cannot be complacent. In addition to the risk of re-emergence of disease in UK, France has had over 22,000 new cases this year and this presents a serious risk as the disease is spread through midges which can cross the channel and infect animals here.

“We urge farmers to vaccinate at the earliest opportunity as vaccination remains more important than ever. The message to the industry remains clear: don’t hesitate, vaccinate”.

To ensure vaccine is available at the most convenient time, livestock keepers are encouraged to place their orders early and plan ahead, or take delivery of vaccine now if it can be stored appropriately.

Vaccine is available across the whole of England so livestock keepers can plan vaccination in line with their normal farming and treatment schedules. The risk of infection significantly rises with warmer weather, so vaccinating at the earliest opportunity, before the risk of Bluetongue spread increases with the onset of warmer weather, is paramount. It takes three weeks for sheep and six weeks for cattle to acquire immunity after vaccination. Farmers wishing to order vaccine should speak to their vet as soon as possible.

TheCattleSite News Desk


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