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RCVS Accredited

Summary of Bluetongue vaccination presentation given by Alasdair King MRCVS at sheep meeting February 19th 2008

20,000,000 doses of Bluetongue vaccine have been ordered from Intervet for use on animals in England during 2008. Vaccination will be on a voluntary basis but it is hoped for at least an 80% uptake to stop the virus from spreading across the country. Without vaccination it is predicted that the virus will spread into Scotland by the end of the summer.

The first doses of vaccine will become available ion May but this will only be for use in the control (protection and surveillance) zones. We are currently in a clear area. It is predicted that vaccine will become available in this area in late summer/early autumn.

Initially the vaccine will be available in 20 and 50 dose bottles, sheep requiring 1 dose of 1ml and cattle required 2 doses of 1ml 3-4 weeks apart. There will then be a subsequent annual booster of 1ml for both cattle and sheep. It is not yet established how much immunity will be passed via colostrum from mothers to their off spring. The vaccine is only to be available through veterinary surgeons. We are already compiling a list of orders for the vaccine as soon as it comes available.

At the time of the meeting it was not known what the price of the vaccine would be but definitely less than £1 per dose.

It was pointed out that in 2006 Belgium had a similar number of Bluetongue cases to England in 2007. In Belgium in 2007 (i.e. the second year of the infection) without the benefit of a vaccine 11% of the national flock died of Bluetonge and there were other associated major economic losses to the livestock industry there. It is hoped that with a vaccine available in this country for 2008 there will be sufficient uptake of vaccination to avoid similar devastation in the UK in 2008.


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