Bluetongue detected in Dutch sheep

Published on
September 6, 2023

At four Dutch sheep farms bluetongue has been detected. Analyses by the National Reference Laboratory of Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR, part of Wageningen University & Research) confirmed the presence of the bluetongue virus. The infected farms have been temporarily blocked by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) has announced.

Last Monday, 4 September, sheep with symptoms that indicate a possible bluetongue infection were found at sheep farms in the centre of the Netherlands. NVWA sampled the sheep. Analysis of these samples at WBVR confirmed that these tested positive for the presence of the bluetongue virus. WBVR is currently conducting additional research into the characterization of the virus on the farms.

About bluetongue

Bluetongue (BT) is a non-contagious notifiable viral disease that can occur in sheep and other ruminants such as cattle and goats. The main route of infection is the bite of flies (midges) infected with the bluetongue virus (BTV). The disease is caused by many different serotypes of bluetongue virus (Family of Rotaviridae, genus Orbivirus).

Bluetongue was first reported in the Netherlands in 2006. This introduction of serotype 8 led to the largest documented outbreak of bluetongue. Since 2012, the Netherlands has had the BTV-free status.


The farms on which bluetongue has been confirmed have been temporarily blocked by the NVWA. Source and contact tracing is in progress, and other farms in the region of the contaminated farms are being screened for the presence of the virus. For this purpose, the NVWA takes samples, which will be analyzed by WBVR. The results are expected in the course of next week.