Page last updated at 13:53 GMT, Saturday, 20 September 2008 14:53 UK

Further case of bluetongue virus

Computer image of bluetongue virus, picture courtesy of Science Photo Library.
A computer model of a particle of the bluetongue virus

Three imported cattle at a farm in Denbighshire have been infected with the bluetongue virus, it has been confirmed.

Originally, two bulls imported from Limoges in France to a farm near Ruthin tested positive.

The third case of the virus was confirmed after further tests.

But Wales' Chief Vet Dr Christianne Glossop said the animals will not be slaughtered as the risk of transmission is negligible.

Dr Christianne Glossop said: "The further results confirm that the three animals had been infected with Bluetongue eight virus.

"Veterinary advice is that as the risk of transmission from these animals is now negligible, they do not need to be slaughtered."

I reiterate that farmers must vaccinate. It is the only protection against this disease
Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones

However, the animals will remain in isolation until the end of the month and all stock on the farm itself will remain under restriction, including movement restrictions, until then.

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones, who has previously said all future cases will be considered on an individual risk basis.

She said she will consider ordering the slaughter of any animals that do pose a risk of transmitting bluetongue and there will be no compensation if that happens.

The farmer at the centre of the outbreak earlier said he was "stunned" some of his cattle tested positive.

The farmer at the centre of the outbreak, Owain Llyr Morgan, said the cattle had all been vaccinated for bluetongue before importation.

Stunned

He issued a statement earlier saying the seven Limousin cattle were from some of the top breeders from the protected zone in France.

He said they arrived on 10 September and routine testing was carried out.

"We are stunned by the result and that this has happened," said Mr Morgan, who added he was co-operating fully with the authorities.

"We are just one of a number of farmers who legally import high quality stock from the European Union."

Dr Glossop urged farmers to vaccinate against bluetongue.

"September is a period of high risk for disease transmission," she said.

"We must also remember that last year the vector free period, the period when midge activity and risk of virus transmission is minimal, began towards the end of December. The period of high risk continues until then."

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said: "Farmers must think twice before importing from bluetongue areas.

"EU legislation does not allow a ban on imports from these areas.

"I reiterate that farmers must vaccinate. It is the only protection against this disease," the minister added.

Earlier this month a bluetongue protection zone was extended to cover the whole of Wales after cases of the disease were found in Devon.


SEE ALSO
Bluetongue tests 'stunned' farmer
18 Sep 08 |  North East Wales
Disappointment over virus vaccine
18 Sep 08 |  North East Wales
Bluetongue zone covers all Wales
01 Sep 08 |  South East Wales
Bluetongue vaccine made available
23 May 08 |  South East Wales

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