EFSA talks of mass vaccination to eradicate Bluetongue in Europe

Experts from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have completed extensive testing on the control measures currently used for Bluetongue in all European Member State families.

Bluetongue is a viral disease that infects ruminants across Europe such as Goats, Cattle, Deer, Sheep, etc. It is a vector-borne disease that is transmitted through the bites from species of Culicoides midges.

The ESFA have said that a ‘mass vaccination’ programme could be underway soon which would be expected to last up to five years. The programme would collaborate with newly improved surveillance measures to eradicate the disease across ruminants in Europe.

The EFSA have stated that eradicating the Bluetongue virus is incredibly difficult and would take at least five complete years – this would allow for up to 95% of susceptible cattle and sheep to be vaccinated.

The surveillance measures that compliment the vaccination programme includes instruments capable of identifying very low levels of the virus prevalence in an area being monitored. If this was not put in place, the virus would reappear after vaccination had been completed and possibly go un-noticed. Therefore it is necessary to carry out this type of monitoring in order to be effective in the management of this ruminant virus.

The monitoring and management style will be based on both the geographical location of the prevalence and the stage that the disease is in when detected i.e. the epidemiological phase. The surveillance will classify different types of the virus that are present in Europe – based on their characteristics. This is thought to be completed by the end of June this year and will contribute to the decisions of specific control measures needed to be put in place.



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