Bluetongue cases reported in Flevoland in the past three weeks
Despite the cold weeks, new cases of bluetongue have been reported in Flevoland in the past three weeks. This concerns a total of fifteen sick animals, as reported by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA).
The increase is less significant than in the previous weeks, with a total of 172 cases now counted in the province. Nearly 5,800 animals have become ill throughout the Netherlands.
Most cases are still reported in Noordoostpolder, with six more added in recent weeks, bringing the total to 74 infections. The number of infections has also increased in other municipalities, with three new infections reported in Dronten, Almere, and Zeewolde. No new cases are known in Lelystad, while the NVWA reports that there are no infections in Urk, despite claims from an employee at the De Stekplek petting zoo that sheep there have also been sick with the virus.
The bluetongue virus is spread by the midge, a type of small mosquito. The insect becomes less active when temperatures drop, leading to fewer infections recently. However, researcher Melle Holwerda of Wageningen Bioveterinary Research from Lelystad warns that the virus may still be present in stables over the winter and could return in the spring.
The consequences of a bluetongue infection in sheep or goats can be severe, with infected animals often unable to be saved. The virus attacks the inside of the blood vessels, causing ulcers in the mouth and extreme pain. Infected sheep may stop eating, develop a blue tongue, have a high fever, drool, walk lame, and have a rounded back.
The situation is being closely monitored, with efforts to prevent further spread of the virus and protect the health of animals in the region.]
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