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Bulletin No.40 : Bluetongue Vaccination Update

Please note that the Bluetongue Scottish Order comes into force on 24 September 2012 but similar legislation will come into force in England today, 24 August 2012 and Wales soon after.
Unless you are exporting animals when the legislation may be different, BLS is not recommending that you vaccinate your animals unless another outbreak occurs. The different strains of Bluetongue all have different vaccines to combat them and BLS is concerned that we may end up over medicating our animals which is not recommended. It is, as usual, up to each individual owner, but we can only pass on our recommendations.
Health & Welfare Officer for
British Llama Society and British Camelids

The following has just been received from the Scottish Administration. BLS and BCL are stakeholders in the livestock Scottish Assembly) :

Dear Stakeholder,
As from 24 September 2012 it will be legal in Scotland to vaccinate livestock with a Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) or EU approved inactivated bluetongue vaccine.
This change in policy follows amendments recently made to Council Directive 2000/75/EC by EU Council Bluetongue Directive 2012/5/EU that give Member States the discretion to allow vaccination within a free area.  Following those amendments and after discussion with the Scottish Animal Health and Welfare Stakeholder Group the Scottish Government decided to give livestock producers the opportunity to protect the health of their animals by allowing the use of available inactivated vaccine within a bluetongue free area.
Similar legislation will come into effect in England on 24 August 2012 and in Wales soon.  However, voluntary vaccination will not be allowed in either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland.  However, trade of vaccinated animals to any part of Ireland will not be affected as long as any vaccination met European requirements.

BTV-1 & 8 zones are in place in France, Spain and parts of Italy (as at August 2012), but none are in place in northern countries of the European Union.
Commission Regulation 1266/2007 was also amended. This involved changes to the requirements for monitoring, surveillance, the transition process for freedom, and the transit of animals.  As a result of those changes to the Regulation the Scottish Government is working with the Commission and other Member States to produce guidance on the criteria for establishment, approval and use of ‘vector protected establishments’.
Compliance with the EU’s requirements for monitoring and surveillance programmes, premovement testing, reporting of suspect cases and adherence to movement licence conditions will continue.
The Bluetongue (Scotland) Order 2012 will allow vaccination in free area from 24 September 2012.
Until that Order comes into force the use of bluetongue vaccine remains prohibited in Scotland.
The Scottish Government’s bluetongue advisory leaflet for those working with ruminants and camelids has been updated and can be found on the Scottish Government’s website (

Although the law is changing, it is still advisable to follow the existing guidelines, which include:

        Bluetongue update

        The map below is the new Bluetongue map . Trade will be easier with Germany,Netherlands,Belgium and Luxembourg.
        Hopefully good news for our continental visitors.

        Health & Welfare Bulletin No.34 : BTV - Government Statement

        The Secretary of State has just announced the Bovine TB Eradication Programme for England to the House of Commons. See links below to the News Release and the Programme document:
        Chapter 4 (pages 48-52 inclusive) covers TB in non-bovine farmed animals. DEFRA have shared their thinking with the Camelid Industry over the past few months, so its contents has not come as a surprise.     

        LIZ BUTLER
        Vice Chairman BLS & Health & Welfare Representative
        Nutfield Park Farm, South Nutfield, REDHILL, Surrey Tel: 01737-823375

        Health & Welfare Bulletin No.32 : BTV

        Below is today's news release regarding GB regaining bluetongue free status on July 5:


        The key points are:
        Vaccination will be prohibited from July 5.
        Exports: There will be no bluetongue restrictions on animals moving out of GB to other EU Member States from July 5.  This means that vaccination or any other ‘Annex III conditions’ will no longer be required.
        Imports: There is no change for imports into GB from countries/areas that are under bluetongue restrictions.  All animals will continue to meet full ‘Annex III conditions’ unless they are direct moves to slaughter.  
        Post import testing : There is no change to the policy regarding post import testing.
        It is vital that everybody involved in the industry remains vigilant for bluetongue, continues to source livestock responsibly and to notify their local Divisional Veterinary Manager of any suspicion of disease.
        Below is an explanation for the press release:
        GB to be declared BTV8 free on 5th July 2011

        GB has remained part of a Protection Zone for BTV8 since our first case of
        disease in 2007. In June 2010 GB changed its status to Lower Risk Zone for
        BTV8 which offered protection against the risk of disease from imported animals,
        and was an important step toward BTV freedom.

        EU requirements necessitate 2 years of evidence to demonstrate no active
        disease circulation before BTV freedom can be declared. The results of our
        bluetongue surveillance in 2009 and 2010 showed that all samples were
        negative for all BTV serotypes, and the European Commission has accepted
        GB’s case for BTV free status.

        The BTV8 zones across England, Scotland and Wales will be removed on
        th July 2011, and all bluetongue restrictions on exporting sheep and cattle
        from Great Britain will be lifted from this date.
        This means that a vaccination
        against BTV8 will no longer be required before export from GB.

        The Bluetongue situation in the rest of Europe also appears to have improved
        significantly with no reports of active BTV8 circulation in any Northern EU
        Member State. BTV Experts have advised that the threat of disease entering GB
        via an imported animal or via windborne incursion appears to have reduced
        . Hungary, Austria, Denmark and Sweden have all declared disease
        freedom recently.

        The stringent conditions for animals imported from other Bluetongue zones
        will remain in place
        . We will also continue to test high risk imports. It is vital that
        livestock keepers continue to source responsibly and check the health and
        vaccination status of their animals.

        Currently the EU Bluetongue Directive (Council Directive 2000/75 /EC) only
        permits vaccination against bluetongue within a protection zone.
        This means
        that when GB is declared free of BTV8, vaccination will no longer be
        permitted. Should any livestock keepers wish to vaccinate their stock, they
        should do so before 5
        th July 2011 when the BTV8 zone is lifted.

        We had anticipated amendments to the Bluetongue Directive which would permit
        vaccination in bluetongue free areas, however these changes at European level
        have been delayed and are now not expected until Autumn 2011. The
        Government is continuing to press for changes at European level so vaccination
        can be used more flexibly in future.

        If and when changes are made, vaccination will be permitted once more across
        GB, potentially for a wider range of serotypes. We will keep livestock keepers up
        to date on latest developments with the Bluetongue Directive, and continue to
        provide information on the latest disease situation in Europe.

        Information on BTV Zones across the EU can be found at:

        All livestock keepers are reminded that suspicion of bluetongue disease must be
        notified immediately to your local Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories
        Agency Office.

        LIZ BUTLER
        Vice Chairman BLS & Health & Welfare Representative

        Bluetongue Update


        It is coming up to the time of year when we should all be  administering the Bluetongue 8 booster to our herds or to begin protecting our new crias against the virus. At one of the various meetings I have attended on your behalf to discuss disease control, it was suggested that we use the same brand of vaccine for the boosters that you used last year. Please check this with your vets.


        LIZ BUTLER
        Vice Chairman BLS and Health & Welfare Representative

        Health & Welfare Bulletin No.23 : Bluetongue

        You should be aware that France have declared the whole of their territory as a BTV1+8 Protection Zone in order to allow compulsory vaccination against BTV1 in addition to the current voluntary arrangements in place for BTV8.  This means that all animals moving from France to GB must now comply with BTV1 conditions before they can be moved.  Broadly, this means animals being imported from France to the UK must be vaccinated against BTV1, and then serve a waiting period of 60 days (or quicker with a negative PCR test).  

        Health & Welfare Bulletin No.22 : Bluetongue & Liver Fluke

        Have you placed you order for Bluetongue vaccine yet with your vet?  If not, please do so now.
        The recommendation from the Royal Veterinary College and the British Veterinary Camelid Society is to administer your booster vaccination of 1ml to camelids already vaccinated and two doses of 1ml to crias not vaccinated last year, in March/ April 09.  There should be a minimum of 2 weeks between giving BTV8 vaccine and any other vaccination. It is also recommended that you try to use the same make of vaccine for the booster that you used last year. Please discuss this with your vet.
        Recently, Liver Fluke has been reported as a big problem in camelids. A number of animals have been lost due to it. Know your animals and keep an eye on any abnormal behaviour such as progressive loss of body condition/weight, anaemia, pale membranes and swelling below the jaw (in severe cases).
        Liver Fluke is easily treated so keep an eye on your stock for signs.  If you are worried, please talk to your vet, it is better to be safe than sorry.

        Health & Welfare Bulletin No.21 : Bluetongue


        Following the discovery of Blue Tongue Disease (BTV) in England in 2007, no new cases of circulating disease have been found in 2008.  This has been primarily due to the very successful vaccination campaign during 2008.  It is estimated that over 90% of susceptible animals in East and South East England have been vaccinated.  However, the uptake of vaccine has been much lower in other parts of the country and the overall coverage in the whole of England is thought to be only about 60%.  Wales and Scotland have been running separate vaccination campaigns and there are no data yet on the coverage in those two countries.
        There is a risk that the farming community might become complacent, thinking that BTV in Britain has been beaten and that there is no need to vaccinate again in 2009.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  One only needs to look at the latest map of BTV throughout Europe to see that the risk is not only still present but even greater than ever.  BTV.8, the serotype found in England, has spread throughout most of Western Europe, with the exception of the Republic of Ireland and Portugal.  It has spread as far south as Spain and Italy, north to Sweden and east to Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania.  Even more worryingly, BTV.1 has now spread to north-western France and BTV.6 has been found in The Netherlands.  There is no vaccine available against BTV.6 and there is no cross-immunity between BTV.8 and BTV.1 or BTV.6.
        Britain therefore remains at risk of re-introducing BTV.8 and of introducing BTV.1 and BTV.6 either by cross-Channel spread of vectors (which is how BTV.8 reached us last year) or by the legitimate trade in animals imported from other EU Member States.  To control those risks, the British farming community therefore needs to:

        • Carry on vaccinating against BTV.8 during 2009, giving boosters to all animals vaccinated during 2008, preferably before the vector becomes active in the Spring, and by vaccinating any animals born during 2009.
        • Be very careful not to import disease when importing animals.
        Because the BTV Protection Zone that covers all of mainland Britain is confluent with the BTV.8 PZ in Europe, there are no BTV-related restrictions applying to imports of live animals from within that PZ.  In effect, it is just the same as moving animals from Kent to Lancashire.
        However, there are risks in doing this as has been shown by the post-importation testing carried out by Defra.  In 2008, at least 10 groups of imported animals have been found to be positive to BTV.8 virus and on 25 November, it was announced that a group of cattle imported from south west France were positive to BTV.1 virus.  Fortunately, there has been no evidence that any virus circulated from these imported animals to other animals in the country and, in effect, we got away with it.  But there is no doubt that these importations not only endanger our livestock industry and our exports but they are widely reported and give a dreadful image to the wider world.
        The importation of BTV.1 infected animals has stimulated a widespread call from both veterinarians and farming groups to the livestock industry to stop importing animals from mainland Europe.  After months of urging members to take care with European imports, the president of the NFU, Peter Kendall, has now called for an official ban. The President of the British Veterinary Association, Nicky Paull, feels the same way: “To me, it is very straightforward – stop importing from areas where the bluetongue virus is known to be circulating.” 
        There are legitimate reasons why the British livestock industry wishes to import animals but the message is loud and clear: Either make sure the imported animals are protected from BTV disease or risk having a complete ban imposed.
        Minimum precautions:
        All an importer needs to do is go back to the movement restrictions that were in place in the UK in the spring of 2008, when the vaccination campaign had begun and the PZ was limited to the south and east of England.  At that time, to move animals from within the PZ to the Free Areas in the rest of Great Britain or for export:
        1. The animals had to be vaccinated by a veterinary surgeon and be accompanied by a veterinary certificate of vaccination stating that: “I, the undersigned, being a veterinary surgeon, certify that I vaccinated the animals identified above….” giving details of the vaccine used and the date(s) the animals were vaccinated.
        2. Either the full vaccination course had to be completed more than 60 days before the date of movement;
        Or             (i) The full vaccination course had to be completed at least 21 days before the date of movement, AND
        (ii) The animals were subjected to an agent identification PCR test with negative results, carried out at least 35 days after the full vaccination course was completed.
        Please be responsible.  BLG urges all its members who are planning to import animals from areas of Europe where BTV virus is known to be circulating to act responsibly and insist on:
        1.    A veterinary certificate of vaccination.
        2.    An agent identification PCR test with negative results, carried out at least 35 days after the full vaccination course was completed.
        By acting responsibly ourselves and urging our friends, colleagues and neighbours to do likewise, we not only improve the chances of protecting the British livestock industry from imported disease but also of negating the siren calls from others to ban all imports.
        Andrew J Taylor BA VetMB MRCVS. Chairman: BLG  (British Livestock Genetics Consortium Ltd)
        If you have queries, concerns or feedback on any of these issues, please contact Liz Butler:, or 01737 823375.

        Health & Welfare Bulletin No.20 : Bluetongue

        Order NOW for 2009

        Defra are asking all owners of Camelids and all susceptible species to order their Bluetongue vaccine requirements for 2009 NOW in order to ensure sufficient vaccine is available for 2009.  
        Please let your own vet know how many doses you will require in 2009 so the vet can place an order for sufficient doses.
        All animals vaccinated this year will need a Booster and all cria born in 2009 will need 2 vaccinations. The advice is to give the one Booster vaccination before the warm weather which means by the end of April, irrespective of when you gave the initial two jabs in 2008.
        Scientists warn that the risk for 2009 will be considerable because of the spread of Bluetongue 8 in France with over 20,000 cases this year, as well as the risk posed by unvaccinated animals here.  The French experience was that once an outbreak occurs it may be too late to vaccinate.   Vaccinating animals with no symptoms but which have in fact already been infected, produces very sick animals indeed.

        Vaccination is the only defence against Bluetongue 8.

        Be very careful importing from Europe,  many llamas appear not to have been vaccinated. Exporting from Holland and NW Germany is forbidden because of the outbreak of Bluetongue 6. 
        All imports irrespective of where they come from are tested for 4 sera-types 1,6,8,25.   All of these strains have now been detected in Europe.   
        There are no UK licensed vaccines for sera-types other than BTV8.

         Beware of non vaccinates  
         Protect your Llamas  
         Don't Hesitate--vaccinate

        If you have queries, concerns or feedback on any of these issues, please contact Liz Butler:, or 01737 823375.