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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 February 2008, 17:41 GMT
Bluetongue case in imported sheep
A sheep with bluetongue
Officials describe the bluetongue-infected sheep as an 'isolated case'
The first case of the animal disease bluetongue has been discovered in Wales, it has been confirmed.

An imported sheep has tested positive for the disease in the Llandysul area in Ceredigion.

The sheep, which was one of a group of 14 from the Netherlands, was found to have the virus following routine tests after it had been imported.

The assembly government said it was an isolated case and did not change Wales' bluetongue-free status.

Chief veterinary officer Dr Christianne Glossop said: "There is nothing to suggest the virus is circulating in Wales and we remain free of the disease.

"A similar incident occurred in Scotland last year and they too remain disease free," said Dr Glossop.

We hope very much that we have caught this at an early stage and isolated the animal on this farm
Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones

On Wednesday, parts of south east Wales and Powys were included in a surveillance zone after a case of bluetongue was confirmed in Poole in Dorset.

Dr Glossop said there would be no change to the zone following this latest cases.

Movement restrictions have been imposed on the Ceredigion farm and Wales' chief veterinary officer has ordered the immediate slaughter of the infected sheep.

The bluetongue virus is spread by a species of midge and can be fatal to animals such as sheep and cows.

'Last news'

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones told BBC Radio Wales it was "very worrying" that an imported animal was carrying the disease but she stressed that it was an isolated case.

She said: "This is very much an isolated case. We hope very much that we have caught this at an early stage and isolated the animal on this farm."

She added: "Other than the restrictions on the farm itself, I don't foresee [more restrictions] at this time."

Dai Davies, National Farmers' Union (NFU) Cymru president, said the bluetongue case was the "last news" that farmers wanted to hear.

He added: "Anyone who is considering going to Europe to import an animal needs to reconsider."



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