The Department of Agriculture has warned farmers against importing cattle from mainland Europe to prevent a potential spread of Bluetongue disease.

Last month a total of 135 European cattle were imported, a sharp rise on the 36 animals imported in July of 2018.

Midges which carry the disease are widespread in Europe at this time of year, heightening the risk of importing an animal infected with Bluetongue.

The Department is concerned a small number of farmers importing cattle recently are greatly increasing the risk of the disease entering the Irish herd.

Farmers are asked not to import live ruminants during the high-risk period when midges are active.


All ruminant animals are susceptible to the viral Bluetongue disease, including cattle, sheep, and deer. Midges become infected by biting animals carrying the disease and can then spread it to other unaffected animals.

Once the disease enters the midge population it cannot be controlled.

Agricultural exports and day to day running of Irish livestock farms would be greatly affected if a Bluetongue outbreak were to occur.

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