Defra has announced the Bluetongue Protection Zones will be extended and merged on Monday 12 May, following the delivery of additional doses of bluetongue vaccine.
Vaccination is only permitted within the Protection Zone, so in accordance with the bluetongue vaccination plan, the Protection Zones will be merged by extending the zones into all of Hampshire and West Sussex. The Protection Zone will also be extended into all of Lincolnshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire. The Surveillance Zone is unaffected.
A further 1 million doses of vaccine, available in 50-dose bottles, are available for use in the Protection Zone today. Livestock keepers in the areas coming into the Protection Zone on Monday will be able to obtain vaccine from that date. They are encouraged to order vaccine so that they can protect their livestock at the earliest opportunity.
Those keepers coming into the new Protection Zone will be subject to the same restrictions as those in the existing Protection Zone. Animals can only be moved out of the Protection Zone if they are vaccinated, naturally immune or for slaughter, subject to meeting certain conditions. Please refer to the Defra website for further guidance.
Defra has also today published an epidemiology report on the distribution of bluetongue infection in Great Britain, based on surveillance work up to 15 March.
A statement said: "The evidence considered in the report suggests that bluetongue has not spread beyond the current Protection Zone boundaries. This supports our vaccination strategy, which has been devised to tackle the most at-risk areas first, gradually expanding the Protection Zone westward as more vaccine becomes available."