Restrictions on the transportation of sheep in parts of the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and France where the blue tongue virus was first detected two weeks ago have been relaxed somewhat. Where ALL movement was banned in affected areas now animals certified as healthy can be taken to abattoirs and for export, though under stepped-up surveillance. This is according to recommendations by EU experts. Meeting in Brussels they also discussed findings that this strain of Blue Tongue virus has never been reported in Europe before.
Laboratory results shown to the Standing Committee for the Food Chain and Animal Health suggest that the bluetongue virus serotype 8 is of a sub-Saharan lineage, although the EU experts say the precise origin is not yet known, nor is the way in which the virus was introduced into Europe. Blue tongue is an epizooty quite common in the south but had never been detected so far north here. Scientists speculate that ticks which host the virus could have moved according to climate changes.