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Bluetongue

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Bluetongue, Tunisia, January 2000

Impact Worksheet

Summary: An outbreak of bluetongue was reported by Tunisia to the OIE on January 4, 2000. This is the first time bluetongue has been reported to occur in Tunisia. Tunisia is a minimal player in the international marketplace for sheep, goats, and cattle and the US has imported no relevant products from Tunisia over the past several years. Therefore, the impact to US livestock due to the outbreak of bluetongue in Tunisia is negligible at this point in time.



Prepared by: Center for Emerging Issues, Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA

How extensive is the situation in the affected country and what was the country’s disease status prior to the outbreak?

An outbreak of bluetongue was reported by Tunisia to the OIE on January 4, 2000. This is the first time bluetongue has been reported to occur in Tunisia. Bluetongue is not reported to occur in other North African countries nor in much of Europe. In Tunisia, adult sheep in seven districts along the Mediterranean coast are affected. As of 4 January, 829 cases had been reported out of a susceptible population of almost 9,000. Samples have been sent to Pirbright Laboratory in the UK to identify the serotype of virus involved in this outbreak.

Source: OIE Disease Information Report

What is the country’s place in the international market for affected animals and animal products?

Tunisia is a minimal player in the international marketplace for sheep, goats, and cattle. Production levels in 1998 and 1999 were less than 1% of world production for all three species.

Source: United Nations FAO

The bluetongue virus is transmitted primarily by Culicoides species. While movement of live animals can be a means of spread of the virus, relevant animal products that can transmit the virus are limited to blood products and do not include meat products. Only relevant products are included in this assessment.

What is the country’s production and trade in affected animals and animal products?

In 1998, Tunisia had a production level of 1.3 million goats and 6.6 million sheep. Provisional data for 1999 indicate equal levels of production. Cattle production in Tunisia equaled 770,000 and 780,000 head in 1998 and 1999 (provisional data) respectively. FAO data indicate no exports from Tunisia of cattle, goats, or sheep in 1997 or in 1998.

Source: United Nations FAO

What are the U.S. imports of affected animals or animal products from the country?

The US has imported no live ruminant animals (including semen and embryos) or relevant products from Tunisia during the time period of 1996 to October, 1999.

Source: World Trade Atlas

What is the level of passenger traffic arriving in the United States from the affected country?

Humans do not play a role in the transmission of the bluetongue virus, either as mechanical or biological vectors. The exception to this is via poor management practices such as using contaminated needles or equipment. In addition, products passengers might be carrying, such as meat products, do not play a role in the transmission of the bluetongue virus. Therefore the level of passenger traffic arriving in the US from Tunisia is not a risk factor for transmission of the virus.

CEI’s interpretation:

The impact of the bluetongue outbreak in Tunisia to US livestock is negligible at this point in time.

CEI’s plans for follow up:

CEI currently has no plans to provide additional information on this situation; however, if the situation should change significantly, follow-up information will be provided. If you seek more information or wish to comment on this worksheet, please reply to this message or contact Vicki Bridges at (970) 490-7822 or Chris Kopral at (970) 490-7819.



Additional Information