Norway’s first bluetongue case reported
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority says the country’s first cases of bluetongue infection have been detected in two cattle herds, reports Forbes.com.
The cases were found in routine checks Vest-Agder, southern Norway, one in Lista and the other in Sør-Audnedal.
The disease was once confined to Mediterranean areas but has been spreading north since 2006. The death rate among infected animals in northern Europe has been about 30 percent.
The food authority said Feb. 20 there is no risk to humans, and the virus unlikely to spread to other herds due to winter temperatures. An agency news release says the two herds are isolated.
The bluetongue virus does not spread between animals but is carried by tiny flies called midges. It infects cows, sheep and other cud-chewing animals, and its symptoms vary.
Major signs are high fever, excessive salivation, swelling of the face and tongue and cyanosis of the tongue. Swelling of the lips and tongue gives the tongue its typical blue appearance, though this sign is confined to a minority of the animals. Nasal symptoms may be prominent, with nasal discharge and stertorous respiration. Some animals also develop foot lesions, beginning with coronitis, with consequent lameness. In sheep, this can lead to knee-walking. In cattle, constant changing of position of the feet gives bluetongue the nickname “The Dancing Disease,” writes Wikipedia.
There is no efficient treatment for the disease, but prevention is effected via quarantine, inoculation with live modified virus vaccine and control, including inspection of aircraft.