Bluetongue spreads to 22 farms

31st July 2007, Comments 0 comments

31 July 2007, AMSTERDAM (AP) - Bluetongue, a virus affecting cows and other ruminant animals, has spread to 22 farms in the south of the Netherlands, the Agriculture Ministry said Tuesday.

31 July 2007

AMSTERDAM (AP) - Bluetongue, a virus affecting cows and other ruminant animals, has spread to 22 farms in the south of the Netherlands, the Agriculture Ministry said Tuesday.

The disease is not harmful to humans, nor fatal to animals, but can be costly to farmers: when a cow or sheep is found to carry the disease, it is quarantined and animals may not be transported within a 20 kilometre radius for a period of 60 days until the disease has run its course.

The disease is transmitted by certain species of midges once common only in Mediterranean climes. Experts say the insect has moved further north due to global warming and Bluetongue may now be endemic in Northern Europe.

The current Dutch infections are believed to have moved north from Belgium and west from Germany, ministry spokeswoman Nynke van der Zee said.

"We detected the midges that carry the disease for the first time this season last week, so it was only a matter of time before the first infections followed," she said.

[Copyright AP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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