Second vaccine against bluetongue welcomed by sheep farmers


The Dutch agriculture ministry has ordered 1.3 doses of a second vaccine against bluetongue disease to give sheep farmers “extra security” against future outbreaks.

The vaccine, produced by German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, was approved by agriculture minister Piet Adema on the advice of the Dutch veterinary medicines agency.

Last year 40,000 sheep died after contracting the bluetongue virus, as the disease returned to the Netherlands after a 15-year absence. Symptoms include a swollen tongue, inflammation of the hooves and stiffness in the limbs.

The first vaccine was approved in April and hailed as “fantastic news” by agriculture organisations. The virus is transmitted by flies and other insects that emerge in the spring.

“This gives cattle farmers the hope that they can look forward to a quiet summer after a terrible period,” Adema said.

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