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The 2015 Campaign against the spread of the bluetongue disease started on time

10 March 2015

Vaccination against bluetongue has started since the first week of March, within the efficacy season required, before culicoides, mosquitoes spreading the disease have started flying. The Campaign is in accordance with the approved national plan and EC sanction, confirmed the Executive Director of the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency, Prof. Plamen Mollov, at a special press conference. Vaccines for a total amount of BGN 4 625 000 were supplied by relevant decision of the Government. Brussels will reimburse half of that amount. Due to the warm and humid weather in September and October 2014, the disease spread irrespective of the measures promptly undertaken, to over 2155 settlements in the territory of the whole country and the number of domestic livestock slaughtered or dead reached 472 cattle, 556 goats and 36 252 sheep. The price of one dose of the vaccine supplied is 1 euro, and the product will be administered once to sheep and twice to cattle. This is an inactivated serotype 4 vaccine manufactured, labelled and packaged in France. It has been approved according to all European standards, it has all the veterinary and medical certificates required. Its supplier under the urgent terms of action is Sopharma. It was announced by the Company that they have the ambition to soon start manufacture also of basic vaccines needed for stock-farming, which will make cheaper the access of Bulgarian farmers to such protection. Vaccination 2015 against bluetongue is not the farmers' personal concern, it is free – it is a part of the governmental prevention programme. The campaign will last 20 days, starting with marked animals only – first sheep, then cattle as well. Bluetongue is a viral disease of domestic and wild ruminants (cattle, sheep, buffalos, does and deer). It is transmitted only by bloodsucking insects that have bitten an infected ruminant before that. Infection by food, water, air is not possible. The meat, milk, dead animals and vehicles used for transportation of such animals are not a factor for the disease spread. Humans are not affected by bluetongue, infection in contact with infected four-footed, with wool or following consumption of meat or milk from infected animals is not possible. The aim of the vaccination is to eliminate the disease in affected regions and prevent its spread, to decrease animal mortality and farmers' economic losses. According to EU rules, prophylactic vaccination against bluetongue is not to be performed, vaccination shall be applied only under specific conditions – if a focus of infection appears and against a specific serotype. Presence of bluetongue virus serotype 4 only was found in 2014 in the territory of Bulgaria. Similar was the situation in the whole Balkan region and in the Mediterranean region.