Thursday, September 20, 2007
A highly dynamic Bluetongue (or catarrhal fever) infection of sheep herds is underway in Germany. From August 2006 till September 9, 2007, 1,833 farms had reported the presence of the infection. From Sept 9. till September 14, 2007, the number of farms reporting infections has grown to 5,686. The number of deaths is estimated around 15,000 sheep.
Bluetongue infection is of viral origin and is harmless to humans. It is an insect-borne viral disease of ruminants, mainly sheep and less frequently of cattle, goats, buffalo, deer, dromedary camels and antelope. There are no reports of human transmission.
The origin of the infection is not clear but it is one of the diseases which is still feared to invade Northern Europe as a consequence of global warming. No official sources are as yet available as the affected sheep farmers have tried to get the news on the media but to no avail.
The disease has also been found in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The United Kingdom Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs says the virus could spread from Northern Europe to the UK, but is unlikely.