What is the Bluetongue virus?

The bluetongue virus core resembles an icosahedron
The bluetongue virus core
resembles an icosahedron


The global spread and incidence of arboviral diseases (which are transmitted by biting midges, mosquitoes, sand flies or ticks) has increased in recent decades, with significant and high profile impacts on both human and livestock health, disrupting food safety and security. These changes have been linked to climate change (influencing the activity and distribution of the arthropod vectors), as well as increasing global trade and travel (introducing exotic pathogens into new areas).

Bluetongue virus (BTV) is one of the most important livestock pathogens, capable of infecting all domesticated and wild ruminant species, causing severe clinical disease (fatalities) primarily in sheep and some deer species, but with reduced productivity in other ruminant species (e.g. cattle).  The virus is transmitted by Culicoides biting midges and was previously confined to tropical and sub-tropical regions but is now endemic in several Southern European countries

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