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BTV-8 re-emerging in northern Europe, APHA warns
Owing to the weaker pathogenicity of the re-emerging strain, there may be fewer clinical signs than the 2007 strain.
Weaker pathogenicity means clinical signs may be fewer 

Vets are being reminded of the risk of bluetongue virus, as serotype 8 re-emerges in northern Europe.

According to an APHA briefing, there have been reports from France of calves being born small and blind, dying at just a few days old, since mid-December 2018. There has been a considerable increase in reports since January this year.

The affected animals have been positive by PCR on blood and spleen for BTV-8. APHA said the detection of BTV-8 in calves of around a week old, during the culicoides vector-free period, suggests transplacental infection.

Since the first reports of cases, 418 samples have tested positive for BTV-8 by PCR, with between two and 15 per cent of newborn calves affected on some farms.

Further studies using experimental midge infection suggest that the current BTV-8 strain in France has a reduced culicoides vector competence.

Official veterinarians are being urged to consider BTV-8 as a possible cause of malformed calves or abortion, and to be aware that the re-emerging strain in northern Europe could cause transplacental transmission and infection of foetuses in cattle.

Owing to the weaker pathogenicity of the re-emerging strain, there may be fewer clinical signs than the 2007 strain, so APHA says an increase in awareness is important.

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Hedgehog project launched at Edinburgh campus

News Story 1
 The University of Edinburgh has launched a hedgehog-friendly project at its Easter Bush Campus, which is home to the Roslin Institute and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

A survey is being carried out at the campus to assess how many hedgehogs are in the area. A team of around 20 volunteers installed 10 small tunnels in different locations and they will track footprints to gauge hedgehog presence.

Landscape experts are also creating habitats where the mammals can eat, shelter and breed. It is hoped that student projects will be developed at an open day on 12 October. 

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ASF traces found in seized meat at NI airport

More than 300kg of illegal meat and dairy products were seized at Northern Irelandís airports in June, DAERA has revealed.

A sample of these were tested at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, resulting in the detection of African swine fever DNA fragments.

DAERA said that while the discovery does not pose a significant threat to Northern Irelandís animal health status, it underlines the importance of controls placed on personal imports of meat and dairy products. Holidaymakers travelling overseas are being reminded not to bring any animal or plant products back home.