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Health & Welfare Bulletin No.32 : BTV

Below is today's news release regarding GB regaining bluetongue free status on July 5:


The key points are:
Vaccination will be prohibited from July 5.
Exports: There will be no bluetongue restrictions on animals moving out of GB to other EU Member States from July 5.  This means that vaccination or any other ‘Annex III conditions’ will no longer be required.
Imports: There is no change for imports into GB from countries/areas that are under bluetongue restrictions.  All animals will continue to meet full ‘Annex III conditions’ unless they are direct moves to slaughter.  
Post import testing : There is no change to the policy regarding post import testing.
It is vital that everybody involved in the industry remains vigilant for bluetongue, continues to source livestock responsibly and to notify their local Divisional Veterinary Manager of any suspicion of disease.
Below is an explanation for the press release:
GB to be declared BTV8 free on 5th July 2011

GB has remained part of a Protection Zone for BTV8 since our first case of
disease in 2007. In June 2010 GB changed its status to Lower Risk Zone for
BTV8 which offered protection against the risk of disease from imported animals,
and was an important step toward BTV freedom.

EU requirements necessitate 2 years of evidence to demonstrate no active
disease circulation before BTV freedom can be declared. The results of our
bluetongue surveillance in 2009 and 2010 showed that all samples were
negative for all BTV serotypes, and the European Commission has accepted
GB’s case for BTV free status.

The BTV8 zones across England, Scotland and Wales will be removed on
th July 2011, and all bluetongue restrictions on exporting sheep and cattle
from Great Britain will be lifted from this date.
This means that a vaccination
against BTV8 will no longer be required before export from GB.

The Bluetongue situation in the rest of Europe also appears to have improved
significantly with no reports of active BTV8 circulation in any Northern EU
Member State. BTV Experts have advised that the threat of disease entering GB
via an imported animal or via windborne incursion appears to have reduced
. Hungary, Austria, Denmark and Sweden have all declared disease
freedom recently.

The stringent conditions for animals imported from other Bluetongue zones
will remain in place
. We will also continue to test high risk imports. It is vital that
livestock keepers continue to source responsibly and check the health and
vaccination status of their animals.

Currently the EU Bluetongue Directive (Council Directive 2000/75 /EC) only
permits vaccination against bluetongue within a protection zone.
This means
that when GB is declared free of BTV8, vaccination will no longer be
permitted. Should any livestock keepers wish to vaccinate their stock, they
should do so before 5
th July 2011 when the BTV8 zone is lifted.

We had anticipated amendments to the Bluetongue Directive which would permit
vaccination in bluetongue free areas, however these changes at European level
have been delayed and are now not expected until Autumn 2011. The
Government is continuing to press for changes at European level so vaccination
can be used more flexibly in future.

If and when changes are made, vaccination will be permitted once more across
GB, potentially for a wider range of serotypes. We will keep livestock keepers up
to date on latest developments with the Bluetongue Directive, and continue to
provide information on the latest disease situation in Europe.

Information on BTV Zones across the EU can be found at:

All livestock keepers are reminded that suspicion of bluetongue disease must be
notified immediately to your local Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories
Agency Office.

Vice Chairman BLS & Health & Welfare Representative