Farmers Guradian
Topics
Nine ways to keep your farm vehicles safe

Nine ways to keep your farm vehicles safe

Arable Farming Magazine

Arable Farming Magazine

Dairy Farmer Magazine

Dairy Farmer Magazine

LAMMA 2018

New to Farmers Guardian?
Register Now
Login or Register
New to Farmers Guardian?
Register Now
New to Farmers Guardian?
Register Now

You are viewing your 1 free article

Register now to receive 2 free articles every 7 days
Already a Member?

Login | Join us now

Bluetongue vaccine talks underway as virus expected to return this year

Farmers are being encouraged to consider vaccinating livestock ahead of the probable return of bluetongue later this year. But, the problem is, there is currently no vaccine available in the UK.
The most likely route of bluetongue infection in the UK is via midges blown across the Channel
The most likely route of bluetongue infection in the UK is via midges blown across the Channel

Defra and livestock industry representatives are in talks with vaccine manufacturers ahead of the probable return of bluetongue to the UK later this year.

 

With the disease currently present across much of central France, the Animal and Plant Health Protection Agency’s (APHA) latest risk assessment identified infected midges blown across from France to the South East of England as the most likely source of incursion.

 

It concluded, albeit with a ’high level of uncertainty’, the risk of incursion is:

 

  • 5-10 per cent this spring, even a typically cold one.
  • 33-60 per cent during the main part summer.
  • A 60-80 per cent by the end of summer.

 

The prospects depend on successful re-emergence and spread in France this winter and the effectiveness of France’s disease controls over the low vector activity period.

 

The modelling suggested only in a hot year will an incursion lead to a UK outbreak as early as May, with June more likely on average.

Pre-emptive vaccination

Modelling results also suggested a ‘pre-emptive vaccination level of 80 per cent, 50 per cent or even 25 per cent in bovine and ovine species’ giving full protection by May 1 would have a ‘significant impact’ on the rate of spread of disease.

 

If the virus was found to be circulating in the UK, movement restrictions would be applied and these would ’have an impact on slowing down the spread from an incursion early in the season’, the APHA assessment said.

 

But, particularly in unusually hot weather, this alone ‘may not significantly slow down the spread during the vector season’, it added.

 

Government Deputy Chief Vet Simon Hall and the British Veterinary Association’s (BVA) John Blackwell both urged farmers to remain vigilant for signs of bluetongue and to discuss the potential benefits of vaccination with their vets.

 

There is, however, no vaccine currently available to farmers in the UK.

 

Given the experience of the last bluetongue outbreak when uptake by farmers did not match expectations, manufacturers will need to be convinced there will be a market before they invest in producing one.

Vaccine manufacturers

Defra and livestock industry representatives recently met with vaccine manufacturers to address this and discuss potential demand for a vaccine this year.

 

NFU chief adviser on animal health and welfare, Catherine McLaughlin, stressed the need for things to move quickly in order to ensure vaccines are available in time.

 

She said: "It is clear we need a vaccine readily available for UK farmers to use before the spring and the onset of warmer, more conducive weather.

 

“It can take two to three months for vaccine stocks to be made if there is a seed vaccine. If there is not, this process can take about six months."

 

She added: "Vaccine is effective and we recommend farmers have a conversation with their veterinary surgeon to inform their decision based on their business risk."

 


Read More

Bluetongue vaccine set to be available from July Bluetongue vaccine set to be available from July
Farmers urged to act over bluetongue threat Farmers urged to act over bluetongue threat
Lancaster University set to host workshop highlighting risk of bluetongue epidemics Lancaster University set to host workshop highlighting risk of bluetongue epidemics

What to look out for

What to look out for
  • Symptoms include eye and nasal discharge, drooling, swelling around the head or mouth, lethargy and lameness
  • Any suspicions of bluetongue must be reported to APHA immediately

Bluetongue in France

  • The BTV8 strain of bluetongue re-emerged in central France in the autumn, after being undetected in mainland EU for at least five years
  • France has reported 173 outbreaks mainly affecting cattle, albeit with mild or no clinical signs and very low prevalence
  • Restriction zones are in place in France to control disease spread

BTV8 in the UK

  • BTV-8 was circulating in in northern Europe in the Culicoides midge during 2006 to 2008, reaching the UK in 2007
  • There were 130 outbreaks reported in the UK and its impact was considered limited compared with the worst-affected parts Europe
  • Movement controls, voluntary vaccination, surveillance, heightened awareness of risks, weather patterns and the improving situation in mainland Europe all contributed to ’disease freedom’ in 2011

Too see the APHA risk assessment, click here

 

Twitter Facebook
Post a Comment
To see comments and join in the conversation please log in.
Facebook
Twitter
RSS
Facebook
Twitter
RSS