FEBRUARY 4, 2008: DEFRA has announced changes to the bluetongue protection and surveillance zones after new cases of the disease were discovered during pre-movement testing in the south east of England.

The zones have been extended further into Sussex and Dorset, in accordance with the UK Bluetongue Control Strategy and EU legislation.The infected animals were found as a result of pre-movement testing currently required in the vector-free period.All evidence suggests that these animals were infected before the vector-free period commenced. Further similar cases may be expected in the coming weeks, said DEFRA.The NFU reports that the most significant of these cases was found at Haywards Heath and this case has moved the zones further west.Meanwhile, farmers in the south east have expressed concern that the extension of the zone could mean vaccine shortages in the protection zone once it becomes available.

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