AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch Agriculture Ministry urged farmers to vaccinate their goats, sheep and cattle against the bluetongue livestock disease after confirming five new cases in the north of the Netherlands on Friday.
All five infected animals were sheep that had not been vaccinated against the virus, which causes fever and mouth ulcers and in some cases turns an animal’s tongue blue.
Agricultural minister Gerda Verburg urged farms that have not yet vaccinated their animals to do so, according to a statement issued by the ministry.
Last week, the ministry confirmed the first case of bluetongue in the Netherlands in 2008, in a cow which had also not been vaccinated against the disease.
The ministry launched a vaccine program in May and has so far distributed 6 million doses of bluetongue vaccines. It also ordered another million doses in June, some of which are now available.
Last year, over 6,000 Dutch farms were hit by the virus.
Reporting by Catherine Hornby, Editing by Peter Blackburn