Four new cases of bluetongue virus have been confirmed in cattle in England.

The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) confirmed that the cases were identified within the 10km temporary control zone, which was established following the first case of bluetongue, found in a cow in Kent, earlier this month.

The cattle have tested positive for bluetongue serotype 3, the strain of the virus for which there is no vaccine.

“Following active surveillance within the 10km temporary control zone (TCZ), a further four cases in cattle of bluetongue serotype 3 have been identified on two additional premises, all within the 10km TCZ and within 5km of the first finding near Canterbury, Kent,” DEFRA stated.

All four animals will be humanely culled to reduce the risk of onward transmission.

Virus spread

Bluetongue could spread to the UK if infected midges are carried across the channel by the wind, and the south and east coasts of England are at highest risk.

DEFRA stated that there is no evidence that there is circulating virus in the midge population.

Bluetongue could also spread into the UK if infected animals, blood or germinal products, are imported from countries where bluetongue is circulating.


The case in England resulted in a ban on cattle, sheep and other ruminants moving to the island of Ireland.

In Ireland, officials on both sides of the border are working to trace all cattle and sheep movements from Britain to Ireland since 1 October.

Farmers who imported livestock since this date will be contacted by the regional veterinary office to arrange for testing.

Bluetongue is a notifiable disease, therefore any suspected cases must be reported to the Department.

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