Information about bluetongue infection in ruminants


<div>Bluetongue is an insect-borne viral disease that affects ruminants. Humans are not infected by the virus.</div>

In Europe, the most important transmitter of the Bluetongue virus is a midge of the Culicoides imicola species. This species is not found in Finland. The midge is nowadays found in the Mediterranean countries as well as in Northern Africa. With a temperature increase of at least 2oC in the climate, the midge could spread from the Mediterranean region further north, into France, Switzerland, Italy, Slovania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Bulgaria.

Bluetongue infections have been reported in tropical and subtropical regions, where the vectors are active throughout the year. In Europe, cases of Bluetongue have been detected in Portugal, Spain, France (Corsica), Italy, Greece and the Balkan countries. In August 2006, antibodies of the Bluetongue virus were found in sheep in the southern part of the Netherlands, and an investigation has been launched. A Bluetongue infection in a sheep was confirmed in Holland on 18 August. Bluetongue has never been recorded in Finland.

The symptoms of the disease vary to a great extent, and in ruminants are usually only found in sheep and certain wild ruminants (deer). In most cases symptoms are inapparent. In sheep, an acute infection is characterised by fever that may last for several days. Hyperaemia of the mucous linings of the mouth and the nose, accompanied by ulcers, erosions and gangrene follow this. The tongue may also become swollen and blue in colour.  Inflammation of the feet, for example in the coronet, may result in lameness. Abortions and pneumonia are also possible. Animals that manifest symptoms either die within 8-10 days, or survive but take a long time to recover. The disease may result in great financial losses

The disease is diagnosed on the basis of detected antibodies or virus.

For more information, please contact:
Ms. Ulla Rikula, Specialist Veterinarian in Infectious Animal Diseases, tel. +358 (0) 20 77 24 585
Ms. Liisa Sihvonen, Professor, tel. +358 (0) 50 553 9226

More information is available on the Internet site of the European Commission under: Bluetongue in the Netherlands confirmed

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