September 19, 2003
According to a report submitted by Italy to the Office International des Epizooties (OIE), this country has lost almost 500,000 sheep in the largest spread of bluetongue (BT) yet to affect Europe.
Since its initial detection in Italy three years ago, BT has succeeded in ?overwintering? at least twice, causing significant losses to the extensive Italian sheep industry. This outbreak of BT has persisted across three seasons, from August 2000 through April 2002, and has involved four different serotypes of the disease ? BTV-2, BTV-9, BTV-4 and BTV-16.
A vaccination regiment was established in 2002 in conjunction with strict animal movement controls to further reduce the spread of infection.
Staff contact: Paul Rodgers, 304-647-9981