Bluetongue Virus update

Following confirmation of bluetongue virus (BTV) in a non-imported animal in England in December 2023, Great Britain may no longer be considered a BTV-free country. The last outbreak occurred in the South of England in 2007.

As a result of this, trade in live ruminant animals from Great Britain to the EU and movements to Northern Ireland are currently suspended.


Bluetongue is a notifiable insect-borne viral disease that affects sheep, cattle, other ruminants such as goats, and camelids such as llamas. It cannot be spread directly between animals and relies on the midge as a vector for transmission.

It does not affect people or food safety, but outbreaks can result in prolonged animal movement and trade restrictions.

Animal keepers should be very vigilant for any signs of notifiable disease and report any suspected cases to APHA immediately. When importing animals into Scotland, animal keepers should ensure they consider the risks carefully and check the health status of the animals. Animal keepers should also consult their vet on other measures, such as protective vaccination if appropriate.

Further details can be found on

Published on: 11 April, 2024