Experts pinpoint when bluetongue arrived

EXPERTS have pinpointed the exact night when midges carrying the bluetongue virus were blown from continental Europe into East Anglia - sparking the UK's first ever outbreak of the farm disease.

EXPERTS have pinpointed the exact night when midges carrying the bluetongue virus were blown from continental Europe into East Anglia - sparking the UK's first ever outbreak of the farm disease.

Government vets believe the midges were blown over on the night of August 4, leading to the first case in a Highland cow at Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm, near Needham Market, on September 22.

Since then there have been 60 animals confirmed as being infected - with the latest on a farm near Cambridge.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) report stated that, up to October 19, bluetongue had been confirmed in 17 cattle herds and 8 sheep flocks.

Suffolk has the highest number of cases, with ten cases in cattle and four in sheep, followed by Essex with five in cattle and one in sheep.

The report also confirmed the low morbidity, mortality and prevalence rates in infected animals. The majority of infected premises have only one animal with bluetongue and the prevalence rate is generally low.

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