For more information go to: www.defra.gov.uk
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – Animal and Plant Health Agency
Veterinary & Science Policy Advice Team – International Disease Monitoring
Updated Situation Assessment No.8
Bluetongue disease is caused by a virus transmitted by biting midges, which are most active between May and October. Bluetongue virus can infect all ruminants (e.g. sheep, cattle, goats and deer) and camelids (e.g. llama and alpaca). Sheep are most severely affected by the disease. Cattle, although infected more frequently than sheep, do not always show signs of the disease.
Outbreaks of bluetongue affect farm incomes through reduced milk yield, sickness, reduced reproductive performance (failed pregnancies, abortion, central nervous system deformities in the calf or lamb) or, in severe cases, the death of adult animals.
Bluetongue virus does not affect people and consumption of meat and milk from infected animals is safe.
Bluetongue is a notifiable disease. That means if you suspect an animal is showing signs of disease you must tell the Animal and Plant and Health Agency (APHA) immediately. Failure to do so is an offence.