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Wales Launch Vaccination Strategy

20 January 2009

UK - Farmers in Wales should get ready now to vaccinate their livestock against Bluetongue, the Welsh Assembly Government has said as it launches the Bluetongue vaccination strategy for 2009 .

The risk of Bluetongue to the Welsh farming industry remains a reality, with the disease circulating widely in Europe, particularly France which had more than 23,000 cases in 2008.

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said: "The current cold weather should not lull farmers into a false sense of security. We remain at risk from Bluetongue in Wales, and that risk intensifies as we approach the spring and milder weather and midge activity increases.

"The effectiveness of vaccination was demonstrated in 2008 by the fact that, in areas such as East Anglia where uptake of vaccine was high, there was no re-emergence of the virus. If the Welsh livestock industry is to be protected against Bluetongue, most of our sheep and cattle need to be vaccinated. Those who do not vaccinate are putting their business at risk, their neighbours’ businesses at risk and are prolonging the effect of the disease."

Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Dr Christianne Glossop, added: “There is still vaccine available to protect all the susceptible animals in Wales in 2009 and when this supply is exhausted, farmers can order and obtain commercially available vaccine via their private vets.

"Farmers who took the decision to vaccinate last year will also need to vaccinate in 2009. Those who chose to wait until the spring should be making the necessary arrangements to vaccinate now with their vets. Those who didn't vaccinate because of unfounded negative information are encouraged to consider the facts of the benefits of vaccination and prepare to protect their animals with vaccination in 2009."


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