Farmers in a control zone set up after an outbreak of bluetongue virus near Canterbury can now call a dedicated hotline to get advice or ask questions.
Farmers in and around the temporary control zone (TCZ) can call the bluetongue hotline on 024 7771 0386, available 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
It has been set up following the confirmed case of bluetongue virus 3 (BTV 3), a notifiable exotic disease, near Canterbury on 11 November 2023.
Before this, the last outbreak of bluetongue in the UK was in 2007, meaning it had been officially free of the virus since 2011.
Farmers calling the hotline will be signposted to Ruminant Health & Welfare (RH&W) bluetongue hub for the most up-to-date bluetongue information.
A #BTV3 bluetongue hotline is now available - call 024 7771 0386 for advice linked to the current situation. NFU members can also access the CallFirst hotline: 0370 845 8458 pic.twitter.com/ofOrehsCc8— Ruminant Health & Welfare (@ruminanthw) November 20, 2023
They will also be signposted to Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) for queries relating to surveillance testing and Defra for details on available licenses for any animal movements.
Surveillance is ongoing in the 10km TCZ following the bluetongue case, said Dr Joseph Henry, who is chair of the RH&W bluetongue working group.
He said: “If you farm animals in or around the TCZ, please do ensure you are registered with your paperwork up-to-date, to allow routine disease surveillance to be undertaken so we can build an accurate picture of the disease situation.”
In the UK, bluetongue is a notifiable disease, meaning anyone suspecting it must take action and report it to APHA.