Spreading Bluetongue Virus

Bluetongue disease is a viral insect- borne infection of cows, sheep, goats, and deer, so named because one of the symptoms is a blue tongue from bleeding. It’s been spreading from Africa as European summers warm, arriving in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the Balkans since 1998. Beginning August 14, the virus has been found in the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. This year, Europe’s summer was hot; July was the hottest month on record in the Netherlands. Some scientists blame climate change for the spread of the virus.

Several details to be figured out, for example, the northern European virus resembles the Nigerian version, but there is not much trade in ruminants between the two areas. Hopefully a cold winter will kill off infected midges.

From the September 1 Science

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