We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Bluetongue Disease?

Niki Acker
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Bluetongue disease is a non-contagious disease affecting ruminants, particularly sheep. It is caused by the Bluetongue virus (BTV) and transmitted by biting midges of the genus Culicoides. Bluetongue disease can devastate livestock populations, but there have been no reported cases of human infection.

Bluetongue disease has been documented in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. It has been spreading northward since October 1998. Bluetongue disease is seasonal in Mediterranean climates, where it subsides during the winter, as midges cannot survive in the cold. The survival of the disease past the winter season is due either to midges that survive the winter in a dormant state or to transmission of the disease to the offspring of infected ruminants. If the latter is the case, the affected offspring would be asymptomatic carriers, and they would spread the disease to others through midges in the summer.

Bluetongue disease is so named because infected animals sometimes develop cyanosis, or blue coloration, of the tongue. Other common symptoms include high fever, swelling of the face, and excessive salivation. Some animals experience other symptoms, such as nasal discharge or difficulty breathing. In advanced cases, an animal with Bluetongue disease may have torsion of the head and/or lesions on the feet so severe they inhibit walking.

Some infected animals have no symptoms, but for those who do, the disease progresses quickly. After an incubation period of five to twenty days, all symptoms usually present within a month. In some breeds of sheep, the mortality rate is as high as 90%, and the sickest animals can die within a week of showing symptoms. Recovery is often a months-long process.

There is no treatment for Bluetongue disease, but it can be controlled through quarantine, vaccination, and control of the midge vector. Vaccinations are only available for some strains of BTV. Midges can be controlled by preventing midge breeding sites, often dung heaps and moist soil, from proliferating, and by keeping animals sheltered during dusk through dawn, when midges are most active.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Niki Acker
By Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a The Health Board editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of interesting and unusual topics to gather ideas for her own articles. A graduate of UCLA with a double major in Linguistics and Anthropology, Niki's diverse academic background and curiosity make her well-suited to create engaging content for WiseGeekreaders. "
Discussion Comments
Niki Acker
Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a The Health Board editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range...
Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.