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.
Expected utility of voluntary vaccination in the middel of an emergent Bluetongue virus serotype 8 epidemic: A decision analysis parameterized for Dutch circumtances
Viral replication kinetics and in vitro cytopathogenicity of parental and reassortant strains of bluetongue virus serotype 1, 6 and 8
RNA Elements in Open Reading Frames of the Bluetongue Virus Genome Are Essential for Virus Replication
Bluetongue, Schmallenberg - what is next? Culicoides-borne viral diseases in the 21st Century
Principal climatic and edaphic determinants of Culicoides biting midge abundance during the 2007-2008 bluetongue epidemic in the Netherlands, based on OVI light trap data
The Mondrian Matrix: Culicoides prevalence and seasonal abundance during the 2006-2008 epizootic of bluetongue in the Netherlands
Transplacental Transmission of Bluetongue Virus Serotype 1 and Serotype 8 in Sheep: Virological and Pathological Findings
The recent Schmallenberg virus epidemic in NW Europe: spreading much faster than the Bluetongue virus serotype 8 epidemic in 2006-2007
Proportionality between light trap catches and biting density of bluetongue vectors
Experimental infection of white-tailed deer with bluetongue virus serotype 8