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Gildernew urges Vigilance in wake of confirmation of Bluetongue in England

28 September, 2007


Sinn Féin Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, has today urged vigilance following confirmation this afternoon that Bluetongue disease is circulating in East Anglia.

In response to this confirmation Ms Gildernew said:

"This is a serious development. We will be continuing to monitor the situation in England closely.

"We have today reviewed the precautionary measures we have in place to minimise the risk of Bluetongue reaching the North. These will remain in place and we are also assessing whether any further actions would be appropriate at this time.

"I will continue to do everything possible to keep Bluetongue out of the North. Farmers also have an important part to play. I am urging all farmers here to remain vigilant and check their animals at least daily for signs of disease and to report any suspicions immediately to their local Divisional Veterinary Office.

"My Department has contingency plans in place in the event of Bluetongue being detected here. These plans were reviewed as recently as Wednesday this week.

"I continue to liaise with Mary Coughlan to maintain the "Fortress Ireland" approach."

DARD continues to liaise closely with Defra, other Devolved Administrations and with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in Dublin to monitor the Bluetongue situation.

DARD will continue to work in partnership with key stakeholders to mitigate the threat of bluetongue incursion.

Detailed information on the symptoms of Bluetongue is available on the DARD website at http://www.dardni.gov.uk/index/animal-health/animal-diseases/bluetongue.htm or by contacting the DARD helpdesk on 02890524999.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  1. Defra issued a Press Release on 28 September confirming that Bluetongue is circulating in East Anglia. This Press Release is available on the Defra website at http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2007/index.htm
  2. In May 2007, DARD published a Bluetongue leaflet to help make farmers aware of the clinical signs of this notifiable disease. This is available on the DARD website.
  3. A Question and Answer guide to Bluetongue is available on the DARD website.

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