Description - Control measures
- Notification and health situation - Community Reference Laboratory - Press releases
Bluetongue is a non-contagious, insect-transmitted,
viral disease of sheep and wild ruminants. It is not known to affect
The disease is characterised by inflammation of the mucous membranes,
congestion, swelling and haemorrhages. Sheep are generally the worst affected,
while cattle and goats do not usually show any clinical signs of disease and
can carry the virus for a certain period of time and transmit it to other
Transmission takes place via bite of certain species of Culicoides midges,
which are biological vectors. It is not transmitted by direct or indirect
contact between animals in the absence of the insects.
Sources of virus
The virus is present in a broad band of countries extending approximately
between 40°N and 35°S. The bluetongue virus has been shown by serology to be
present in regions where the Culicoides is present (e.g. Africa, the Americas,
Australia, the Middle East and some countries of southern Asia and
In Europe, in 2000, Bluetongue was confirmed in sheep flocks at the Baleares,
Sardinia, Sicily, the south of Italy and Corsica. The vectors may also be found
in many areas of the European Union in the hot season.
Bluetongue can cause spectacular disease outbreaks and is placed in the OIE
(Office International des Epizooties) List
A disease category.
For more details, click on the OIE
technical card on Bluetongue.
Read the Questions & Answers on Bluetongue
The measures to control and eradicate the disease
- control of vectors (use of insecticides in the animal
premises and in the areas where these insects live, insect repellents onto
animals, mosquitoes nets, etc.);
- restriction to movements of live ruminants from
affected areas to non-infected regions where the vector is present;
- use of vaccines.
Council Directive 2000/75/EC lays down specific provisions
for the control and eradication of Bluetongue.
Implementation measures of Directive 2000/75/EC
Following the extension of the outbreak in the Mediterranean Member States, the
Commission adopted measures to restrict movements of live animals from the
infected regions :
Commission Decision 2005/393/EC,
on protection and surveillance zones in relation to Bluetongue Updated 18-08-2006
This Decision :
- demarcates restricted zones
- establishes conditions for exemption to the exit
bans from those restricted zones
- establishes conditions for transit through those
Vaccination programmes in Italy have been adopted at the Commission level, with
the financial support of the Community ( Decisions
have been adopted to control the importations of live animals and their
products from third countries affected by a Bluetongue outbreak on their
Commission Decision 2003/845/EC
Notification and Health Situation
Bluetongue is a notifiable disease, according to
Council Directive 82/894/EEC EEC of 21 December 1982 on the notification of
animal diseases within the Community.
Click on ADNS for a description of the notification
system and the latest health situation table.
Community Reference Laboratory
The Community reference laboratory (CRL) for
Bluetongue is the Institute for Animal Health in Pirbright . http://www.iah.bbsrc.ac.uk