The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed a positive case of Bluetongue virus in Ontario as part of routine surveillance testing.
Bluetongue is not contagious, but is spread by biting midges and can infect cattle, bison, deer, goats and sheep. There is no human health or food safety risk and the virus cannot survive outside the biting midge or animal host. The virus also cannot be spread through contact with animal carcasses or other animal products (meat, fibre).
Cattle and goats show very few clinical signs of infection. Cattle may exhibit a mild to moderate fever, and swelling of the coronary band above the hoof, so they walk stiffly and are reluctant to get up. Other symptoms include: nasal discharge, swelling of the head and neck, runny eyes, swelling and sores in the mouth, and drooling. Goats tend to exhibit mild to moderate fever, runny eyes and drooling. The disease can only be confirmed by a lab test and there is no treatment.
The strain detected in Ontario is native to North America and immediately notifiable to the CFIA and Chief Veterinarian of Ontario (CVO) under the Ontario Animal Health Act. Because this strain is not federally reportable, control measures will not be put in place, and producers with positive cases are not eligible for compensation from the CFIA. Export certificates for live cattle and small ruminants, along with semen and embryos, will be also impacted.
To protect your herd, eliminate standing water, keep animals away from wet, low-lying areas and move them into barns overnight, when midges are most active. We are entering the high-risk period for infection, as the midge population peaks in late summer and early autumn and has been known to travel long distances on wind.
If you have any questions or suspect your animals have may contracted Bluetongue, contact your herd veterinarian.
For more information on Bluetongue, visit the CFIA website.