Just when we thought we had Foot and mouth under control or at least we are being told that this is the case by the powers that be, we are hit with another virus, this time its Blue tongue which is infecting our farm animals. So what is Blue Tongue? I hear you thinking and which animal laboratory did this come from? This time there is no laboratory involved with this possible outbreak, Blue tongue is is an insect-borne viral disease which can infect Cattle, sheep, camelids, goats and deer. Blue tongue is often fatal and causes severe suffering in affected animals causing severe inflammation of the face and mouth causing the tongue to appear blue or distressed. Incubation period lasts from 5-20 days. There is no indication that it can affect humans or pets, and the spread of the virus subsides with the onset of frost and cold weather. Signs of BTV in sheep: Eye and nasal discharges; Drooling as a result of ulcerations in the mouth; High temperature; Swelling of the mouth, head and neck; Lameness; Inflammation at the junction of the skin and the horn of the foot - the coronary band; Respiratory problems. Signs in cattle include: Nasal discharge; Swelling of the head and neck; Conjunctivitis (runny eyes); Swelling in, and ulceration of, the mouth; Swollen teats; Tiredness; A laboratory test is needed to confirm the disease. The disease is air-borne. Insects gnats or “midges”can move rapidly in air currents of up to 9,000ft above the ground and up to 72km per hour, covering almost 400km.
This time Britain is not the only country involved after reports confirmed that the virus may have leapt the channel from Europe and landed in a cow on a farm in Suffolk. This is the UK's first outbreak. Since August 2006, the virus has been found in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and northern France, Greece, Italy, Corsica and the Spanish Balearic Islands. Since August 2006, there have been about 4,000 cases in Germany, Belgium, France, Holland and Luxembourg. It has been confirmed in Croatia, Macedonia, Kosovo and Yugoslavia, (Europe basically) .. America too is having problems with BTV there is evidence that the disease has also arrived among the soaring white tail deep population in the Midwest and is moving East. The Glascow Daily Times of Kentucky reports that the disease has spread eastward across Kentucky and has been reported in Tennessee, Indiana, West Virgina and Pennsylvania. The rapid northern spread of Blue Tongue is the latest disease linked by some scientists to global warming. Its full name is Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, and like the dreaded Ebola Virus, it is a “hemorrhagic” disease. Source
There are many BTV (bluetongue virus). The Suffolk case is BTV 8 - the same as found in 4,000 cases in northern Europe - France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. A vaccine for BTV 8 may be available by summer 2008. However, the vaccine is type specific, so one used to control BTV 4 in Spain cannot protect against BTV 1 and so on. Now if there are many different types of BTV and an antidote needs to be created for all of the main types I have no doubt that in Britain anyway the Pirbright laboratory will be asked to work on these antidotes, which as I see it will mean more revenue coming into the country as other countries pay for the BTV antidote and more cases of BTV hitting Britain come the summer of 2008. .... Well we know all about the security precautions that Pirbright have in place dont we and lets face it boys, girls and those of mixed or no gender Pirbright for the most part is above the laws and Health and Safety policies of Britain being as they supply the antidotes for most known Animal viruses (And even if Pirbright were to be handed a large fine they would be able to pay such a fine with ease with the payments given to them by the government as another contract is signed to create another antidote.
Oh yes and Blue Tongue can not be passed on to Humans....... yet.