Bluetongue: farmers warn of a disease in the imported cow - BBC News

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Bluetongue can affect cattle and sheep

Farmers have been warned to be vigilant after bluetongue has been discovered in a cow imported into Northern Ireland.

Bluetongue is a viral disease borne by flies that can affect sheep and cattle.

It was discovered in a manza imported from France, where the disease circulates.

The animal was destroyed and the movement restrictions were established on the affected farm.

The Department for Agriculture, the Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) did not disclose its position.

The disease does not affect humans or affects food safety, but it can reduce milk production and cause infertility in affected animals.

"Impact on exchanges"

DAERA's chief veterinarian, Robert Huey, said the detection was the result of a "rigorous post-import testing regime".

"It is vitally important to keep the language blue," he said.

"The risk is not only for oneself, but for the entire sector as the impacts on trade could be catastrophic as a result".

In addition to the movement restrictions on the farm, departmental officials are also tracking and testing the associated herds.

An investigation was initiated to assess the situation. It will help to determine if the disease is circulating.

Experts say it is "highly unlikely" as the active midge period has now passed.

As a result, currently the United Kingdom remains officially without bluetongue.

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