China has banned the direct and indirect import of ruminants and its related products from Iraq due to an outbreak of bluetongue disease
- Bluetongue disease (BT) is a non-contagious, viral disease affecting domestic and wild ruminants (primarily sheep and including cattle, goats, buffalo, antelope, deer, elk and camels).
- It is transmitted by insects, particularly biting midges of the Culicoides species.
- The virus which causes BT is identified as a member of the Reoviridae family.
- Twenty-four (24) different serotypes have been identified and the ability of each strain to cause disease varies considerably.
- The severity of the disease varies among different species with symptoms being most severe in sheep resulting in deaths, weight loss and disruption in wool growth.
- It has a significant global distribution in regions where the insect vector is present, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and several islands in the tropics and subtropics.
- The virus is maintained in areas where the climate will allow biting midges to survive over winter.
- The insect vector is the key to the transmission of the BT virus between animals.
- Vectors are infected with BT virus after ingesting blood from infected animals.
- Without the vector, the disease cannot spread from animal to animal.
- BT virus transmission can occur throughout the year, particularly during rainy periods.