Victoria's first Bluetounge alert

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As reported in Dairy Australia's Dairyweb News - October 17

Dairy heifers in northern Victoria have been detected with the state’s first indications of bluetongue virus.

BTV antibodies were detected in 12-month-old heifers near Echuca. The detection suggests the animals had previous exposure to the disease, but were not displaying clinical signs. The news could endanger Victoria’s BTV-free status required for the export of livestock including animals to China.

For the next 30 days, part of northern Victoria will be a BTV zone, and livestock within a 100km of the affected property will be ineligible to export to countries requiring a BTV-free status. Movement within Australia is not restricted.

Victoria’s chief veterinary officer Dr Charles Milne said Agriculture Victoria would observe herds and conduct on-farm sampling of cattle in the area for the next three weeks “to identify the potential source of the virus and determine if local spread of this insect-borne disease has occurred”.

BTV is spread by midge bites.