APRIL 28, 2008: A Dutch vet and farmer has toured the UK warning of the devastating effects of Bluetongue and stressed how vital it is to vaccinate.

Marco Verhoef said: “It’s going to come back, and in the second year it spreads quickly – up to 10km a day – and you can expect a similar pattern in the UK this year.“It was a complete surprise that the disease spread as quickly as it did. We first saw it on one of the dairy farms we look after and within two or three weeks it had spread across the whole area. A thousand farms were infected in the space of a month.”The experiences of farmers and vets on the continent will be key in encouraging farmers in the UK to vaccinate their stock.Mr Verhoef said: “We didn’t have a vaccination. There was nothing we could do apart from show the animals tender loving care and try to see them through the infection.“There will be a vaccine this year so we will have protection like in the UK and hopefully we can control the spread of this disease.”

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