How to spot bluetongue, what to do if you suspect it and measures to prevent its spread.
- other ruminants such as cows and goats
- camelids such as llamas
Humans aren’t affected.
The last outbreak in Great Britain was in 2007.
Bluetongue is a notifiable disease. That means if you suspect it you must tell your nearest Animal and Plant and Health Agency (APHA) office immediately. Failure to do so is an offence.
How to spot bluetongue
In sheep the main signs of bluetongue are:
- ulcers in the mouth
- discharge of mucus and drooling from mouth and nose
- swelling of the mouth, head and neck and the coronary band (where the skin of the leg meets the horn of the foot)
Other clinical signs include:
- red skin as a result of blood collecting beneath the surface
- breathing problems
Cattle are the main carriers of bluetongue. Infected cattle generally do not show any signs of the disease, but occasionally signs can include:
- swelling and ulcers in the mouth
- nasal discharge
- red skin and eyes as a result of blood collecting beneath the surface
- swollen teats
Other animals rarely show signs of the disease.
How bluetongue is spread
Bluetongue is carried and spread by midges.
Preventing and controlling bluetongue
You can help to prevent the disease by practising strict biosecurity on your premises.
Defra has issued a general licence for farmers to vaccinate their animals in areas which are outside a restricted zone for bluetongue.
If you report suspicion of bluetongue, APHA vets will investigate.
Further information on prevention and control
Legislation relating to bluetongue
The main EU legislation on bluetongue is Directive 2007/3154
The main domestic legislation is the Bluetongue Regulations 2008