While ticks are known to carry the bluetongue virus (BTV), it could be unlikely that they are the cause of the recent bluetongue outbreaks in the UK, especially during the current cold winter weather. Here’s some reasons why it may not be ticks:
1. Ticks are not active in cold weather: Ticks are ectothermic, meaning their body temperature relies on the surrounding environment. In cold temperatures below 5°C (41°F), ticks become sluggish and inactive, making it difficult for them to feed and transmit the virus. The UK has been experiencing freezing temperatures in recent weeks, well below the threshold for tick activity.
2. BTV is primarily spread by midges: The main vector for BTV in Europe is the Culicoides midge, specifically the Culicoides imicola species. These midges are much more cold-tolerant than ticks and can remain active even during mild winters. They are also more efficient at transmitting the virus than ticks.
3. Recent BTV outbreaks likely originated from infected animals: The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in the UK has stated that the recent outbreaks are likely due to infected animals being brought into the country illegally or through legal movements without proper testing and quarantine. These animals can infect midges, which can then spread the virus to other animals.
4. No evidence of tick-borne BTV in the UK: There have been no documented cases of tick-borne BTV transmission in the UK. While ticks can carry the virus, they are not considered a significant threat in the country due to the limited suitable habitat for the primary BTV-transmitting midge species.
Based on the current understanding of BTV transmission and the prevailing cold weather conditions, it is highly unlikely that ticks are responsible for the recent outbreaks in the UK. Midges and infected animals remain the primary culprits.
How can the Livetec Systems App help you?
The Livetec Systems App provides real-time bluetongue outbreak reporting on new, confirmed outbreaks. This functionality allows cattle and sheep farmers, as well as livestock keepers to take immediate and informed steps to protect their livestock.
With the App, users gain direct access to realtime reporting of bluetongue outbreaks, ensuring a constant connection to official and timely information. The Livetec Systems App also includes Temporary Control Zone alerts, notifying users if their holding suddenly falls within such a zone.
Stay ahead of bluetongue and download the Livetec Systems App here.