The European Commission has said that the bluetongue surveillance system has detected the circulation of the bluetongue virus in a number of sentinel cattle in south Spain, in the Municipality of Jimena de la Frontera in the Province of Cadiz, on 13 October.

Bluetongue is an easy-spreading viral disease of domestic and wild ruminants transmitted by insects. It is not known to affect humans.

As a safeguard measure, the European Commission said it would adopt a decision banning the dispatch and export of live animals and their semen, embryos and ova of bluetongue susceptible species (sheep, goats, cattle and wild ruminants) from some southern provinces of Spain. The Provinces are: Cadiz, Malaga, Sevilla and parts of the Provinces Huelva (comarca de La Palma del Condado et de Ayamonte), Cordoba (comarca de Lucena, de Montilla et de Posada) and Granada (comarca de la Alhama de Granada et de Loja).

The Commission decision and the disease situation will be reviewed at the meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Heath on 19 October 2004.

For more information on the disease, click here.