Bluetongue antibodies found in Finnish bovine


<p>Antibodies against bluetongue virus have been found in a single bovine on a beef stock farm in South-West Finland. Symptoms of the disease have not occurred on the farm. The Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira believes that the antibodies are likely to originate from vaccine virus, which has been identified in cattle in Russia in 2011 and in the Baltic countries and Poland in 2012. Animals are not vaccinated against bluetongue disease in Finland, and the use of live bluetongue vaccines is not permitted in the EU countries, with the exception of Italy.</p>

The bovine with the antibodies was born in Finland. The antibodies are proof that the animal has been infected with the virus at some stage of its life. The virus has probably come to Finland with biting midges carrying the virus. Antibodies formed as the result of an infection persist for years.

Bluetongue is a viral disease spread by biting midges affecting ruminants, but not humans. The virus infects domestic ruminants, camelids and wild ruminants via a midge bite. The disease has never been found in Finland.

Samples taken on the farm were analysed at Evira as part of continuous virus disease monitoring at the end of 2013. One sample was found to contain bluetongue antibodies. The EU reference laboratory confirmed the antibodies to derive from bluetongue serotype 14. The stock on the farm was examined and additional samples taken, which contained neither bluetongue virus nor antibodies. The animals on the farm had no symptoms of bluetongue disease, not have they been vaccinated against bluetongue.

Evira monitors the incidence of bluetongue in ruminants as part of its continuous monitoring programme of animal diseases. Discovery of vaccine virus antibodies in a bovine causes no other actions in Finland.

Further information on bluetongue (in Finnish):

Additional information:
Senior Researcher Ulla Rikula (Veterinary Virology), tel. +358 (0)50 563 2052
Senior Officer Miia Kauremaa (Animal Health and Welfare), tel.+358 (0)400 318 510

Related Categories: