Vaccination against the spread of the Bluetongue virus (BTV-8) appears to be working in England with the latest Defra figures showing the disease on 138 holdings. All of these are deemed to be infections from midge vectors last year – with no new spread logged in 2008.The Organic Research Centre has been pushing for widespread Bluetongue vaccination and for organic farmers to lead the way.
This halt on spread contrasts markedly with the situation in France last year (in its second year of infection) where some 15,569 Bluetongue cases were logged and when BTV-8 vaccine was unavailable. And in the first half of 2008 the French have counted over 6,000 new cases of Bluetongue. The situation in the south of the country is complicated by the fact that there two strains of the disease, BTV-8 and BTV-1 are circulating, requiring separate vaccinations.