Case of Bluetongue Has UK Farmers on High Alert

One more 'body blow' to the industry
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Sep 23, 2007 9:26 AM CDT
A highland cow grazes in a field at a rare breeds farm in Baylham in Suffolk eastern England where a cow has been found with bluetongue.   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – The discovery of bluetongue—an insect-borne illness that has killed livestock throughout Europe—in a cow on a rare breed farm in Britain yesterday was devastating news to a cattle industry already staggering from waves of foot-and-mouth outbreaks.Tests are underway to determine if England's first case had spread to any other animals, reports the BBC.

The bluetongue virus creates severe flu-like symptoms and swollen mouths in sheep, cattle, goats and deer, but it doesn't affect humans. It is often fatal to sheep. "It's another body blow to the industry," said one farmer. The virus was discovered after yet another case of foot-and-mouth disease was found in Surrey.