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Prev Vet Med. 2008 Oct 15;87(1-2):4-20. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2008.06.002. Epub 2008 Jul 10.

Bluetongue in Europe and the Mediterranean Basin: history of occurrence prior to 2006.

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Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright Laboratory, Pirbright, Woking, Surrey, UK.


Bluetongue virus (BTV) exists around the world in a broad band covering much of the Americas, Africa, southern Asia and northern Australia. Historically, it also occasionally occurred in the southern fringes of Europe. It is considered to be one of the most important diseases of domestic livestock. Recently BTV has extended its range northwards into areas of Europe never before affected and has persisted in many of these locations causing the greatest epizootic of bluetongue (BT), the disease caused by BTV, on record. Indeed, the most recent outbreaks of BT in Europe are further north than this virus has ever previously occurred anywhere in the world. The reasons for this dramatic change in BT epidemiology are complex but are linked to recent extensions in the distribution of its major vector, Culicoides imicola, to the involvement of novel Culicoides vector(s) and to on-going climate-change. This paper investigates these recent outbreaks in the European theatre, up to the beginning of 2006, highlights prospects for the future and sets the scene for the following papers in this special issue.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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