The Department of Agriculture has tested 801 cattle and sheep for bluetongue virus in Ireland, with all tests coming back negative for the disease.

Following on from a confirmed case in a cow in England earlier this month, the Department moved to ban imports of cattle and sheep from Britain.

The case also sparked a major tracing operation on both sides of the border, to identify all cattle and sheep movements to Ireland since 1 October.

“The Department has been in contact with all 25 farmers who have imported relevant livestock from Britain in the period from 1 October to 12 November,” a spokesperson told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“Between 1 October and 12 November, 2,116 sheep and cattle were imported into Ireland from Britain and the continent.

“So far, 801 tests have been completed on susceptible livestock imported from Britain and Europe since 1 October, all of which have been negative for bluetongue,” the spokesperson said.

It added that many of the imported animals had already been slaughtered soon after import and hence are not available for testing.

No notification

Bluetongue is a notifiable disease and the Department has not recently received any notification from livestock owners or veterinary practitioners of suspicion of clinical signs of bluetongue.

The Department reminds livestock owners to remain vigilant for signs of the disease.

Bluetongue does not affect human or food safety. However, if the disease was found in Ireland, it would have a very negative impact on animal welfare and on the livestock sector.

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