Rhineland-Palatinate: Restricted area imposed for bluetongue disease

Swollen blue tongues and respiratory problems: The bluetongue, which is dangerous for cattle, has now been detected in Rhineland-Palatinate after Baden-Württemberg, Hesse and Saarland.

For the first time in ten years, the bluetongue disease has been detected in Rheinland-Pflanz. The entire federal state was declared a restricted area on Friday, as Spokesman of the State Office for Investigation (LUA), Achim Ginkel, said in Koblenz. At least one animal has already been killed as a precaution.

The bluetongue disease is mainly transmitted by gnats - small blood-sucking mosquitoes - and mainly affects sheep, goats and cattle. A typical symptom is a swollen, blue-colored tongue. For humans, the virus infection is considered safe. Most recently, between 2006 and 2008, thousands of cattle in Germany died of the disease.

The serotype 8 (BTV-8) pathogen was detected in a cattle stock in the Trier-Saarburg district. Two further suspicions in Zweibrücken and the Saarpfalz district confirm the confirmation of the national reference laboratory, said Ginkel.

The exclusion zone must be maintained for at least two years and limits the transport and trade of cattle, sheep and goats, it said. The South of Rhineland-Palatinate and the Saarland are as well as parts of Hesse since December 2018 restricted area, after the virus was detected in animals in neighboring Baden-Württemberg.

The restrictions in the exclusion zone could be mitigated by vaccinations, said Ginkel. There are exceptions for vaccinated and demonstrably uninfected animals.

REF: http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/medizin/blauzungenkrankheit-in-rheinland-pfalz-erstmals-seit-10-jahren-nachgewiesen-a-1247641.html