EU veterinary experts have approved restrictions on the transport of live cows, sheep and goats after an outbreak of the sheep virus “Bluetongue”. 150 kilometre radius bio-security zones have been set up around sites in Holland, Belgium and Germany where the disease has been detected. The German Regional Minister of Agriculture, Eckhard Uhlenberg, said the outbreak is very dangerous as it has spread rapidly since the first diagnosis late last week.
The movement of ruminant beasts into or out of the affected zones is banned. Bluetongue leads to symptoms of fever mainly in sheep, but may be transmitted by cows and other livestock in the short term. There is no risk to humans. No mass cull is planned as the virus is primarily transmitted by insects.