Hundreds of Dutch farms grappling with bluetongue virus
Hundreds of farms in the Netherlands are grappling with an outbreak of the bluetongue virus in a setback for the country's farming industry, the Dutch government said on Friday.
Up to 600 Dutch farms might already be contaminated, Agriculture Minister Piet Adema told Dutch news agency ANP, after the first four cases of the highly infectious animal disease since 2009 were reported this month.
Bluetongue causes fever and mouth ulcers and in some cases turns an animal’s tongue blue. It is transmitted by insects such as midges and can be highly dangerous to sheep and cows, although it does not affect humans.
Adema said there was no vaccine available yet for the current strain of bluetongue.
The outbreak will limit the export of cows and sheep from the Netherlands as animals will need to be tested or quarantined, the government said earlier this month.