More bluetongue cases discovered

Further cases of the bluetongue virus have been detected in 20 imported cows in Worcestershire, Defra has reported.

The farm near Worcester has now been placed under restrictions and the cows will be culled after the virus was detected through routine testing of the cows, which were from a protection zone in the Netherlands.

Defra said that no extra exclusions were being put in place because there was no evidence that the virus is circulating in the area. The farm is also within the current bluetongue surveillance zone, which was extended into Worcestershire in October.

Fred Landeg, acting chief veterinary officer, said: "As with the case of bluetongue found in an imported animal in Middlesbrough last week, this re-emphasises the importance of livestock keepers carefully considering the potential risks to UK industry as a whole from importing animals from bluetongue restricted zones."

In the past year the virus has affected livestock across Germany, Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Holland.