Another two cases of bluetongue have been detected, making it a total of 11 cases confirmed in both cattle and sheep.

Following routine surveillance, two additional cases of bluetongue in cattle have been detected on a farm near Cantley, located in Broadland, Norfolk.

A 10km temporary control zone (TCZ) has been established around the premises and as a precautionary measure, both affected animals will be humanely culled to mitigate the potential for further transmission. Movement restrictions are in effect for cattle, sheep, and other ruminants within the area.

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The initial outbreak of bluetongue surfaced on November 11 in a singular cow near Canterbury, marking the UK's first outburst of the virus since 2007.

Typically the virus transmits through midge bites and affects cows, goats, sheep, and llamas plus other camelids.

However, with the drop in temperatures, midges are most active between April and November. It is worth noting that not all infected animals exhibit immediate signs of the virus, others show a drop in productivity such as milk yields and in the most severe cases, consequences may be fatal.

UK chief executive veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss reminds farmers to stay alert for cases of bluetongue following the recent outbreaks: “Bluetongue does not pose a threat to human health or food safety, but the disease can impact livestock farms, and cause productivity issues.”

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“This detection is an example of our robust disease surveillance procedures in action, it is also a clear reminder for farmers that the disease remains a threat, despite coming towards the end of the midge activity season.”

National Sheep Association (NSA) chief executive, Phil Stocker emphasises: “NSA continues to urge any sheep farmers within the TCZ to of course comply with the movement restrictions in place, but also encourages those who might be travelling to the area or have stock heading off on winter keep to remain vigilant. The disease can spread rapidly amongst ruminants therefore swiftly notifying Defra is imperative for control.”

Bluetongue remains a notifiable disease within the UK and findings must be reported to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).