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Emerg Infect Dis. 2008 Apr;14(4):539-44. doi: 10.3201/eid1404.071441.

Bluetongue epidemiology in the European Union.

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  • 1Department of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, Epidemiology and Risk Analysis Applied to Veterinary, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium. claude.saegerman@ulg.ac.be


Bluetongue (BT) is a reportable disease of considerable socioeconomic concern and of major importance in the international trade of animals and animal products. Before 1998, BT was considered an exotic disease in Europe. From 1998 through 2005, at least 6 BT virus strains belonging to 5 serotypes (BTV-1, BTV-2, BTV-4, BTV-9, and BTV-16) were continuously present in the Mediterranean Basin. Since August 2006, BTV-8 has caused a severe epizootic of BT in northern Europe. The widespread recrudescence and extension of BTV-8 infections in northern Europe during 2007 suggest that requirements for BTV establishment may now be fulfilled in this area. In addition, the radial extension of BTV-8 across Europe increases the risk for an encounter between this serotype and others, particularly those that occur in the Mediterranean Basin, where vector activity continues for more of the year. This condition increases the risk for reassortment of individual BTV gene segments.

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