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Bluetongue Temporary Control Zone (TCZ) in Kent to be lifted

A control zone set up in Kent following an outbreak of bluetongue is set to be lifted in the coming days.

The virus which affects livestock was found in five cows at two premises in Canterbury in November.

The bluetongue virus affects cattle, goats, sheep and other camelids such as llamas. Picture: Defra
The bluetongue virus affects cattle, goats, sheep and other camelids such as llamas. Picture: Defra

It later spread to the Sandwich Bay area where a further three cows tested positive in December.

A temporary control zone (TCZ) which stretched from Canterbury to Thanet and down to Dover, was set up in order to stop the spread of the virus.

But now the UK’s chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, has confirmed this will be lifted over the coming days. A similar TCZ in Norfolk will also be removed.

Posting on X, formerly known as Twitter, she said: “As our bluetongue monitoring says we are now in the vector low-risk period we’re announcing that the Norfolk and Kent TCZs will shortly be lifted.

“In [the] coming days we [will be in] contact with farmers who have individual premises under restriction.”

The bluetongue control zone in Kent
The bluetongue control zone in Kent

Bluetongue is a viral disease spread by insects which can infect sheep, cattle and goats.

Strict rules are imposed on the movement of livestock from regions affected by bluetongue.

Sadly, all the animals who tested positive have had to be humanely culled to keep it from spreading.

The virus does not pose a threat to humans or food.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) says midges are most active between April and November and not all susceptible animals show immediate, or any, signs of contracting the virus.

Some animals show no symptoms or effects at all – while for others, bluetongue can cause productivity issues such as reduced milk yield, while in the most severe cases can be fatal.

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