An outbreak of Bluetongue virus has been confirmed in livestock herds in Cyprus, said the Agriculture Ministry. Bluetongue is deadly for sheep, goats and other livestock, but does not threaten humans as the virus cannot be transferred between species.

However, livestock numbers could be decimated if the disease isn’t controlled.

It’s passed on from midges and other small biting insects that land on the animal while it’s grazing.

The ministry advises that the proper insecticide be sprayed on crops and grasses to kill the insects that carry the virus. In addition, farmers should avoid excessive use of antibiotics, which do nothing against viruses, and can affect human health.

Innoculating pregnant animals with the Bluetongue anti-viral vaccination will result in abortions and more losses, said the ministry. So far, no company has applied to the ministry to import or produce the vaccination locally, it adds.

Cyprus’ livestock had an acquired immunity to the disease, which has only recently appeared.

Any new cases will be monitored, said the ministry.

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