A cow suffering from the Bluetongue virus has been diagnosed in eastern England. It is the first case in Britain and a fresh setback for the country’s farming industry already hit by the more serious foot and mouth disease in recent months. 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 for cows and sheep, but cannot be transmitted to humans.
The case was discovered on a farm in the town of Ipswich, just a day after authorities said they had detected a sixth case of foot and mouth in Surrey in southern England. Although Bluetongue is not considered as dangerous as foot and mouth, authorities are taking the case very seriously as it could have damaging effects on the farming industry if it spreads. The infected animal will be culled and tests are underway to assess the potential of an epidemic.