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Deux vaches dans un pré
21/09/2023 1 min

First cases of epizootic haemorrhagic disease in France

Three cattle in France have been diagnosed with epizootic haemorrhagic disease (EHD). They are the very first cases to have occurred in this country. They were confirmed on 18 September 2023 by the ANSES Laboratory for Animal Health, which is the reference laboratory for this disease in France and for the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH). The cases were reported in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Hautes-Pyrénées départéments.

The virus responsible for the disease is transmitted by biting midges of the genus Culicoides. It cannot be transmitted to humans. However, in cattle, this disease is potentially fatal. It causes fever, anorexia, lameness and respiratory distress. Small ruminants can also carry the virus but no symptomatic cases have been reported so far.

The virus has been present in Europe since October 2022, when it was reported in Italy and Spain. Analyses have confirmed that the serotype of the virus that arrived in France is the same as the one circulating in these countries, i.e. serotype 8. There is currently no effective vaccine against this serotype, although industry is considering development of a suitable vaccine.

Regulation (EU) 2016/429 on transmissible animal diseases requires outbreaks of epizootic haemorrhagic disease to be reported to the French authorities.