Bluetongue Outbreak Declared
Five cases are confirmed; quarantine measures in place
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2007 4:38 PM CDT
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(Newser) – An outbreak of bluetongue disease is affecting livestock in Suffolk, UK government vets confirmed today. The devastating and often deadly ailment, for which there is no vaccine, has never before been reported in the country. Authorities set up a quarantine zone of 93 miles around farms known to have had the five cases confirmed so far, the BBC reports.

Bluetongue is spread by flies and can affect cattle, sheep, and goats, but not humans. "Bluetongue represents a very real threat to the economics of livestock farming," said the president of the National Farmers Union. The outbreak was expected—3,000 cases have been reported recently in northern continental Europe—but is still a bitter blow because of the quarantine.