The most likely time and place of introduction of BTV8 into Belgian ruminants

Claude Saegerman, Philip Mellor, Aude Uyttenhoef, Jean Baptiste Hanon, Nathalie Kirschvink, Eric Haubruge, Pierre Delcroix, Jean Yves Houtain, Philippe Pourquier, Frank Vandenbussche, Bart Verheyden, Kris De Clercq, Guy Czaplicki

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Background: In northern Europe, bluetongue (BT) caused by the BT virus (BTV), serotype 8, was first notified in August 2006 and numerous ruminant herds were affected in 2007 and 2008. However, the origin and the time and place of the original introduction have not yet been determined. Methods and Principal Findings: Four retrospective epidemiological surveys have been performed to enable determination of the initial spatiotemporal occurrence of this emerging disease in southern Belgium: investigations of the first recorded outbreaks near to the disease epicenter; a large anonymous, random postal survey of cattle herds and sheep flocks; a random historical milk tank survey of samples tested with an indirect ELISA and a follow-up survey of non-specific health indicators. The original introduction of BTV into the region probably occurred during spring 2006 near to the National Park of Hautes Fagnes and Eifel when Culicoides become active. Conclusions/Significance: The determination of the most likely time and place of introduction of BTV8 into a country is of paramount importance to enhance awareness and understanding and, to improve modeling of vector-borne emerging infectious diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere9405
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2010

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