Bluetongue Disease

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 15th October 2008.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Labour, Stroud

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information he holds on which EU countries currently have bluetongue epidemics; and what strain is prevalent in each case.

Photo of Jane Kennedy Jane Kennedy Minister of State (Farming and the Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Currently, there are several bluetongue serotypes circulating in different parts of the EU, including serotypes 1, 2, 4, 8, 9 and 16. A map of the current protection zones in place for each serotype can be found on the European Commission website.

Of most importance to the UK are bluetongue serotypes 1 and 8. Bluetongue serotype 8 (BTV-8) was first found in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Western Germany and in parts of North Eastern France in summer/autumn 2006. In 2007, Northern Europe experienced a dramatic increase of new cases in all existing infected areas, and cases numbered into the tens of thousands as disease steadily spread across Europe.

In 2008, the number of new cases of BTV-8 in many EU member states has declined, but depending on weather conditions, it is possible that there may be further outbreaks this year. BTV-8 continues to be highly prevalent in France (with over 16,000 new cases in 2008) and Germany (over 1,300 new cases). BTV-1 is prevalent in Spain (over 1,000 new cases) and France (over 2,600 cases).

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