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Britain sets up two new Bluetongue control zones
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The British government announced on Wednesday that Control Zones have been put in place around two premises, one near Peterborough, Cambridge shire, and one near Ashford, Kent, where two new Bluetongue cases were found.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) confirmed in a statement that the two new cases are within the current Bluetongue Protection Zone.

Livestock is seen at Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm where another cow has been infected with the bluetongue disease near Ipswich in eastern England September 23, 2007. (photo: Xinhua/Reuters)

"In line with the UK Bluetongue Control Strategy and EU legislation, Control Zones have been put in place around these two new cases, while investigations are undertaken to determine the disease situation. The existing Protection Zone has also been extended accordingly," it said.

As at 5 pm on Oct. 16, 2007 there were 41 confirmed premise affected by Bluetongue, according to the DEFRA which says the figure is normally updated once daily from Monday to Friday.

According to Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer Fred Landeg, given the nature of this disease and its means of spread, this is not entirely unexpected. "We will carry out further investigations on these farms, and in the surrounding area to assess the disease situation and possible sources of incursion," the officer said.

The first Bluetongue case in Britain was detected on Sept. 22 and the DEFRA confirmed on Sept. 28 that Bluetongue disease is circulating between the local animal and midge population in East Anglia, following epidemiological investigation of several cases of the disease.

A Bluetongue Control Zone around the area where cases have been identified and a larger Bluetongue Protection Zone were established on Sept. 29 replacing the Bluetongue Temporary Control Area set up after the first case was detected.

The Control Zone and the Protection Zone were extended for the first time on Oct. 10 and further extended on Oct. 16 after Bluetongue cases were confirmed in Essex and near Lowestoft.

Surveillance and epidemiological investigations are continuing.

Markets within the Control and Protection Zones, and the movement of susceptible animals from these Zones to approved slaughterhouses outside the Zones, have been permitted from midnight on Sunday Oct. 14, subject to conditions.

(Agencies via Xinhua News Agency October 18, 2007)

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