Scottish regional resilience partnerships' framework for exotic notifiable animal diseases contingency plans

Information on how and when operational partners should respond to a suspect or confirmed exotic notifiable animal disease outbreak.

Appendix L: Bluetongue virus (BTV)

L1. Introduction

BTV is a notifiable disease of ruminants including sheep, cattle deer, goats and camelids (which includes camels, llamas, alpacas). The disease has the potential for rapid spread with significant production loss for the sheep and cattle industry. BTV clinical signs may be confused with other diseases, including FMD and any concerns must be discussed with a private vet or the duty APHA vet. There are 26 different serotypes and is spread by various species of biting midges of the genus Culicoides. It cannot naturally be transmitted directly between animals (except BTV8 which may occur across the placenta and BTV 26 between goats). When a midge bites an infected animal, in the right conditions the virus replicates in the insect vector and then passed on to the next ruminant host at the next midge bite. Peak populations of the vector Culicoides occur in the summer and autumn and therefore this is the time when BTV is most commonly seen. Vaccination against certain strains of bluetongue ( BTV1, 4 and 8) is permitted in GB and is the most effective control method.

The Scottish Government's control structures set up to respond to a bluetongue outbreak is outlined in the Scottish Government's Exotic Diseases of Animal Generic Contingency Framework Plan. However, as the disease is spread by vectors the disease response is different to mopst other exotic notifiable diseases. The GB Bluetongue Virus Disease Control Strategy outlines the Scottish Government's response to a bluetongue outbreak. It can be found at During an outbreak of bluetongue in Scotland or elsewhere in GB those web pages will be supplemented with additional information specific to the disease outbreak.

L2. Legislation and National Control Strategy


Disease Orders

Statutory Instrument Number



EU Directive (Specific provision for the control and eradication of Bluetongue)

75/ EEC


EU Regulation (regarding control, monitoring, surveillance and restriction on movement of animals in relation to Bluetongue)

1266/ EEC


The Bluetongue (Scotland) Order 2012



The GB Bluetongue Virus Control Strategy 2014

L3. Possible Impact

BTV is a highly infectious viral disease of animals spread by certain types of biting midge. It's ability to spread is dependent on favourable climatic conditions.

If BTV is suspected a government veterinary inspector will serve a restriction notice prohibiting movements of ruminants from the premises and anywhere that susceptible animals may have been exposed to the disease. A Temporary Control Zone ( TCZ), of an appropriate size to contain disease, may be declared around the premises while veterinary investigations are carried out. No susceptible animals, carcases, ovum, embryos or semen are permitted to move to or from any premises within this zone, except under licence issued by a veterinary inspector. If infection is identified at the premises and there appears to be limited local spread e.g. on the farm and no evidence of widespread circulation of disease by midges, Scottish Ministers will likely try and contain and eradicate it by culling relevant ruminant animals. At this point it may not be necessary to introduce a wider restricted zone (comprising control, protection and surveillance zones). Confirmation of disease usually requires evidence that disease is circulating. If disease is confirmed to be circulating, EU legislation requires the introduction of a Control Zone of 20 km in radius, a Protection Zone with a radius of at least 100 km and a further Surveillance Zone of 50 km in radius. These area control measures include movement restrictions similar to that imposed by the TCZ. Controls on movement of livestock out of a zone may have an economic impact on livestock keepers caught up in those zones. Chronically affected animals will likely have to be destroyed on welfare grounds. As there is no compulsory culling of infected animals there will be no Government compensation for affected animals. Public access will likely be restricted to the Infected Premises only.

L4. Public Health

There is no risk to human health. It does not affect humans.

L5. Risk of Introduction of Infection and Spread of Disease

Since 1999 there have been widespread outbreaks in most European countries including France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Corsica and the Balearic Islands. A number of serotypes have been involved including 2, 4, 8 and 16.

L6. Lead Responder Control Measures under Statutory and Regulatory Powers and Responsibilities

L.6.1 Local Authority Principal Role

  • Enforcing Animal Health and Welfare Legislation.
  • Enforcing movement restrictions.
  • Enforcing of cleansing and disinfection requirements.
  • Issue movement licences (if requested by APHA)
  • Erection of signage and dissemination of guidance and information.
  • Stand down and recovery.

L.6.2 Animal and Plant Health Agency ( APHA) Principal Role

  • Respond to and investigate all reports of suspect notifiable disease.
  • Lead agency in the instigation of local response to disease outbreak.
  • Convene the NDCC, LDCC and FOB
  • Issue movement licences
  • Supervise the welfare of animals being culled
  • Surveillance and blood sampling of animals to demonstrate absence of disease and thus gain recognition of disease freedom.

L.6.3 Scottish Government Principal Role

  • Ensure necessary legislation is in place.
  • Make and disseminate policy decisions
  • Make and disseminate guidance and information on disease control.
  • Communicate with field staff and enforcement bodies (such as local authorities).
  • Handles policy issues as well as share disease control developments with SGoRR, NDCC, other UK Rural Affairs departments and the EU.

L.6.4 Following Suspicion of Disease

  • A restriction notice is served on the suspect premises, this would restrict the movement of susceptible animals on/off the premises

L.6.5 Following Confirmation of Disease

  • An Infected Area, consisting of a Protection Zone and Surveillance Zone will be established.
  • The Protection Zone will be at least 100 km from the Infected Premises and the outer boundary of the Surveillance Zone will at least 50 km in radius beyond the PZ.
  • Movement of susceptible animals out of these zones are banned (although animals can move freely within those zones) except under certain conditions.
  • Implementation of a surveillance programme

L7. Control Zones which may be declare

Statutory Instrument


Stage Declared



The BT (S) Order 2012

Temporary Control Zone ( TCZ)


Any size considered fit by Scottish Ministers ( SMs)

Article 13

Some or all measures in Article 12(1)(b) to (e)

Control Zone


20 km (Initially, then may be varied)

Article 15

Protection Zone ( PZ)


100 Km radius (minimum)

Article 16

Surveillance Zone ( SZ)


>50 km radius beyond the PZ

Article 16

Provisionally Free Area

Exit Strategy

Areas previously part of a PZ and SZ

Reduced PZ/ SZ measures



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