This is the transmission, symptoms and prevention
In recent weeks, in Spain, multiple cases of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHE) have been reported. This is an animal pathology that affects domestic and wild ruminants, especially deer, which was detected for the first time in Spain in November last year and has been gradually spreading, but especially in recent weeks, throughout the national territory, escalating from south – the first case was recorded in Cádiz – to the north of the country
What is epizootic hemorrhagic disease?
Epizootic hemorrhagic disease is transmitted by mosquito bites. The virus has many morphological and structural characteristics in common with the other members of the family Reoviridae, genus Orbivirus, especially with bluetongue virus. It causes respiratory symptoms in animals and can affect the reproductive system of animals, leading to abortions or the birth of more delicate animals. While production decreases as a result of abortions and infertility, veterinary expenses increase, generating significant economic losses for the sector.
Does it affect the quality of the meat?
Epizootic hemorrhagic disease does not affect meat quality, but can cause mortality in cattle. For this reason, the detection of cases does not imply any type of additional restriction on meat consumption.
Is epizootic hemorrhagic disease contagious?
Epizootic hemorrhagic disease is not a zoonosis; that is, it is not transmitted to people. It is not contagious either, but is transmitted by mosquitoes of the culicoides genus. For this reason, no type of restriction is established on the affected farm or on the consumption of animal products, whether meat or milk. On the contrary, limits are imposed on the movement of live cattle.
What is the incubation period?
It ranges between two and ten days.
What symptoms do infected animals show ?
Infected cattle can be asymptomatic – in fact, this is the case in most cases – or present mild symptoms that include fever, anorexia, dysphagia, loss of appetite, lameness, respiratory difficulty, nasal discharge and udder erythema. Serious cases are rare and mortality is very low. In sheep cattle the incidence is lower. Sheep have few clinical manifestations and goats are very little susceptible to infection. In cattle it can produce moderate and self-limiting symptoms for about two weeks. It is a disease that affects deer, and can also affect fallow deer and roe deer.
Is it a new disease?
Historically, the epizootic hemorrhagic disease had circulated in North America, Australia, Asia and Africa, but had never been detected in the European Union or Spain until on November 10, 2022, Italian authorities confirmed the virus in livestock farms in Sardinia and a few days later in Sicily. Shortly after, on November 18, the first cases in Spain were detected in Cádiz. From Andalusia it has expanded throughout the country.
How to prevent epizootic hemorrhagic disease?
The European Union has not authorized the use of any vaccine against the disease. Vector control against mosquitoes, through the use of insecticides and repellents on animals, means of transport and facilities, as well as the use of insecticides and larvicides to control possible breeding areas, is the measure recommended by the Ministry of Agriculture , Fishing and Food.