Another FMD case, and now Bluetongue


This week begins with more worries for farmers than the one just passed. Over the weekend not only was another case of FMD confirmed, close to the previous outbreaks, but also a temporary control zone has been established near Petersfield, Hampshire, as vets check clinical signs of FMD in animals on a local farm.

The disease called Bluetongue, spead by midges, has finally arrived in the British Isles, discovered in Suffolk. Until last week the disease (well established in Africa) had been spreading across Europe, but hadn’t reached the UK. Finally it would appear that midges carrying the disease – the Culicoides group being the only known transmission vectors – have crossed the channel. For months experts have been warning that this disease might be on its way. Now that it’s here we can only hope that our climate reamins cold enough to kill off the midges over winter.

Here in West Berkshire the likelihood of Bluetongue arriving at Sheepdrove is highly unlikely – perhaps they are worried at Jimmy’s Farm over in Essex – but let’s hope the first case is an isolated one, and more midges don’t help to spread it before the frosts set in.


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