Bluetongue tests have come back positive on two rams that were imported from France last Tuesday, according to Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

One ram testing positive for bluetongue is on a farm near Lewes, East Sussex, while the other is at Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. Tests were carried out as part of Defra’s routine post-import tests on all bluetongue-susceptible animals arriving from Continental Europe.

Alick Simmons, deputy chief veterinary officer, said there was no evidence that the virus is circulating between local midge and animal populations.

Mr Simmons said: ‘Bluetongue has recently been confirmed as circulating this year in the Netherlands and large areas of France, despite vaccination programmes being undertaken. Similar re-emergence of disease in the UK would also not be unexpected in the coming weeks.

‘‚ĶFarmers throughout the protection zone should vaccinate as soon as vaccine is available to them.’

Defra has confirmed that a full investigation is underway following the confirmation of the bluetongue cases near Lewes and Hemel Hempstead.

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