Bluetongue: farmers have animals vaccinated

No cases of bluetongue: farmers still vaccinate animals
After outbreaks of bluetongue, which is dangerous for sheep and cattle, occurred again and again in other European countries, many farmers in Germany have their animals vaccinated. And this despite the fact that there are no cases of viral disease in this country. The causative agent of the disease is not dangerous for humans.

Several outbreaks of bluetongue
Outbreaks of bluetongue have occurred repeatedly in various European countries in recent years. New outbreaks have been reported in Romania, Montenegro, Croatia and Hungary since summer 2015. Cases occurred in Austria and Slovenia in autumn, and in France in early 2016. According to a website of the Lower Saxony State Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (Laves), the current outbreaks (as of July 26, 2016) are approx. 200 to 250 kilometers away from the German border. Nevertheless, farmers in several federal states have their animals vaccinated.

"No bluetongue in Germany"
The head of the Animal Health Service of the North Rhine-Westphalia Chamber of Agriculture, Peter Heimberg, said, according to a message from the dpa news agency, that this is particularly the case in Bavaria and Baden-W├╝rttemberg, since it borders on France and Austria, where bluetongue has occurred. And there are also such vaccinations in his state. "But we don't have bluetongue in Germany yet," says the veterinarian.

Safe for humans
Bluetongue is a virus-borne animal disease that is often fatal, especially for sheep. It also affects cattle and goats. The virus is transmitted by certain mosquitoes, the so-called midges. Experts say that meat and milk from infected animals can be eaten without hesitation. "The causative agent of bluetongue is not dangerous for humans", writes the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI), Federal Research Institute for Animal Health.

Vaccinations on a larger scale
Franz Weyermann from the Rhineland Agricultural Association in Bonn also confirmed that vaccinations are currently taking place on a larger scale in Bavaria and Baden-W├╝rttemberg. According to the dpa, he said: "If there were cases of bluetongue, there would certainly be a greater willingness to vaccinate in other federal states." According to the information, sick animals suffer from fever, foamy salivation, ulcers on the claws or internal bleeding. Mouth area and tongue turn blue-red. It is said that the death rate in sheep is between ten and 80 percent depending on the breed and virus form.

Last new infection in 2009
"Since the first appearance of bluetongue in August 2006, the disease has caused considerable economic damage in cattle and sheep herds, especially in the first two years," says Laves Niedersachsen. However, the number of new cases was significantly reduced, so that the last new infection in Germany was detected in November 2009. (ad)

Author and source information

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