There has been a case of bovine Bluetongue in the French commune of Estourmel, near Cambrai, this week. The affected site is nearly 40 km from the border between France and Hainaut. Afsca, the federal agency for food safety, has said it is not necessary to set up a quarantine zone in Belgium just yet.
That could be put in place later if there are more infections in the border regions or some are found in Belgium, says Agricultural Minister Willy Borsus. Bluetongue in sheep can be transmitted through insect bites, however there are not many around during the winter period.
The type found in France is serotype 8.
If a quarantine zone is set up in Belgium, cattle breeders could only leave it after vaccinating their animals or providing proof they are immune and uncontaminated. A vaccination once a year would protect them. Willy Borsus said farmers should vaccinate their herd before the end of winter.