CCA Statement on Bluetongue Virus in beef cattle in Southern Ontario

September 4, 2015

Calgary, AB – The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) said the detection of Bluetongue virus (BTV) in beef cattle in Southern Ontario shows Canada takes animal disease surveillance and testing seriously. The detection of BTV occurred as a result of routine testing through Canada’s Bovine Serological Surveillance testing program.

Bluetongue is an animal health disease. There is no risk to human health associated with BTV. This occurrence will not affect exports of Canadian live cattle to the U.S. or exports of meat or meat products.

Bluetongue is a disease of domestic and wild ruminants that is transmitted by a specific species of biting Culicoides midge. Most of Canada is free of the disease. Five of the six known occurrences of BTV in Canada in the past 30 years have been in the Okanagan Valley.

This latest finding marks the first time the virus has been found on a birth farm outside of its normal region in Canada, a development that impacts Canada’s status with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as a country free of BTV. In beef cattle the impact of BTV is primarily to the genetics industry.

Although cattle typically show no signs of clinical infection BTV can cause serious illness and death in sheep as well as deer and potentially other wildlife. There is no effective treatment for bluetongue.

In Canada, the presence of the virus is usually restricted to late summer and early fall, since conditions must be warm enough for the BTV to multiply within the midge. Midge activity ceases with the first hard frost.

This particular serotype of BTV is ‘Immediately Notifiable’ under the Health of Animals Regulations and laboratories are required to report confirmed diagnoses to the CFIA. The CFIA in turn notifies the OIE.

According to OIE rules, a country with an ongoing surveillance program may regain its BTV free status after demonstrating no evidence of infection with BTV in the country for the past two years and no Culicoides (midges) for at least two years in the country.

For more information on BTV click here

Contact:

 

Gina Teel
Communications Manager
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
403-275-8558 x 306 |  teelg@cattle.ca 
www.cattle.ca