Bluetongue (BT) is a disease in ruminants caused by an Orbivirus that is transmitted by midges. There are at least 29 serotypes of Bluetongue virus (BTV). The virus reproduces in ruminants and in midges. Wageningen Bioveterinary Research conducts research on this disease.
Which animals are susceptible to bluetongue?
Infected midges naturally infect domestic and wild ruminants (for example, sheep, cattle, goats and deer) and camelids (such as the llama and alpaca) by bites during feeding. Cattle show higher and longer viraemia than sheep, but the disease is seen more frequently and more severe in sheep (depending on the serotype of BTV).
What are the symptoms?
The disease is characterized by inflammation of the mucus membranes around the mouth and nose, this inflammation causes the rarely seen 'blue tongue' that gives the disease its name.
Can people become infected?
Bluetongue does not affect humans so there are no public health implications.
Where does the bluetongue virus circulate?
Bluetongue occurs almost everywhere in the world. In Europe, the spread of Bluetongue virus was formerly associated to the presence of Culicoides imicola. In 2006 it became clear that BTV could also be spread by endemic species of Culicoides in Northern parts of Europe.
Is the Netherlands free of bluetongue?
After several years without new infections, the Netherlands, together with a number of other North-Western European countries, was officially declared free of bluetongue in 2012.
In Southern Europe there is great difficulty in getting the different serotypes of the virus under control, partly due to reintroductions from North Africa.
How can we prevent the spread?
The spread of bluetongue can be reduced by controlling midges. Local application of insect repellents is possible to reduce the risk of contamination.
Can animals be tested for bluetongue?
As the national reference laboratory of the Netherlands, Wageningen Bioveterinary Research can test animals for bluetongue. A suspicion can be refuted or confirmed. Healthy animals can also be tested to rule out bluetongue, for example for import/export, semen and ovum production and national animal transport.
Why German farmers have their animals vaccinated against Bleutongue virus serotype 8: Results of a questionnaire survey
Turnover rate of NS3 proteins modulates bluetongue virus replication kinetics in a host-specific manner
A Review of Knowledge Gaps and Tools for Orbivirus Research
Farmers' beliefs and voluntary vaccination schemes: Bluetongue in Dutch dairy cattle
Virus and host factors affecting the clinical outcome of Bluetongue Virus infection
Confirmation of spatial patterns and termperature effects in Bluetongue virus serotype-8 transmission in NW-Europe from the 2007 reported case data
Bluetongue virus without NS3/NS3a expression is not virulent and protects against virulent bluetongue virus challenge.
VP2-serotyped live-attenuated bluetongue virus without NS3/NS3a expression provided serotype-specific protection and enables DIVA.
The Schmallenberg virus epidemic in Europe 2011-2013
Bluetongue virus nonstructural protein NS3/NS3a is not essential for virus replication