Cyprus Mail

Mandatory vaccination against bluetongue

Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis issued a decree on Monday for the mandatory vaccination of all cattle, sheep and goats against bluetongue virus serotype 8.

According to the decree, owners of cattle, sheep and goats, must make arrangements for the vaccination of their animals against bluetongue fever serotype 8, but to also spray insecticides to kill insects of the genus Culicoides, that are carriers of the disease.

The vaccines will be given free to veterinarians by the state vet services. Farmers are urged to make arrangements for the vaccinations with vets of their choice.

The cabinet has already approved €667,000 for the purchase of the vaccines which is to administered to around half a million sheep, goats and cattle.

Bluetongue serotype 8 was confirmed in Cyprus at the beginning of October after tests confirming the disease were found in samples sent to the UK. It is an insect-borne, viral disease of ruminants, mainly sheep and less frequently cattle, goats, buffalo, deer, dromedaries, and antelope. It is caused by the bluetongue virus (BTV), which is transmitted by midges.

The disease has 26 serotypes. Until now, only serotypes 4 and 16 have ever been recorded in Cyprus and because of acquired immunity there have been no cases of clinical symptoms in decades. The disease was first diagnosed in Cyprus in 1924 and can be fatal to sheep.

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