Nigel J Maclachlan, C. E. Mayo, P. W. Daniels, G. Savini, S. Zientara, E. P J Gibbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Bluetongue (BT) is an arthropod-transmitted viral disease of non-African ungulates, principally sheep. The disease results from vascular injury analogous to that of human haemorrhagic viral fevers, with characteristic tissue infarction, haemorrhage, vascular leakage, oedema, and hypovolemic shock. Importantly, BT is not zoonotic. Bluetongue virus (BTV) infection of ruminants and vector Culicoides midges is endemic throughout many tropical and temperate regions of the world; however, within this global range the virus exists within relatively discrete ecosystems (syn. episystems) where specific constellations of BTV serotypes are spread by different species of biting Culicoides midges. Recently discovered goat-associated BTVs, notably BTV serotype 25 (BTV-25) in central Europe, appear to have distinctive biological properties and an epidemiology that is not reliant on Culicoides midges as vectors for virus transmission. Bluetongue virus infection of ruminants is often subclinical, but outbreaks of severe disease occur regularly at the upper and lower limits of the virus's global range, where infection is distinctly seasonal. There have been recent regional alterations in the global distribution of BTV infection, particularly in Europe. It is proposed that climate change is responsible for these events through its impact on vector midges. However,the role of anthropogenicfactors in mediating emergence of BTV into new areas remains poorly defined; for example, it is not clear to what extent anthropogenic factors were responsible for the recent translocation to northern and eastern Europe of live attenuated vaccine viruses and an especially virulent strain of BTV-8 with distinctive properties. Without thorough characterisation of all environmental and anthropogenic drivers of the recent emergence of BT in northern Europe and elsewhere, it is difficult to predict what the future holds in terms of global emergence of BTV infection. Accurate and convenient laboratory tests are available for the sensitive and specific serological and virological diagnosis of BTV infection and confirmation of BT in animals. Prevention and control strategies for BT are largely reactive in nature, and typically are reliant on vaccination of susceptible livestock and restrictions on animal trade and movement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-340
Number of pages12
JournalOIE Revue Scientifique et Technique
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Bluetongue
  • Bluetongue virus
  • Climate change
  • Culicoides midges
  • Haemorrhagic fever

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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