Bluetongue: What you need to know

27 November 2023

A photo of three cows on a field.

An additional four cases of bluetongue have been confirmed within the 10km temporary control zone in place near Canterbury in Kent, which has been in place since mid-November. Check the latest news and updates on the situation here.

All of the animals associated with the new cases have been humanely culled to reduce the risk of onward transmission. 

Farmers are being asked to be vigilant and, if they spot signs of the disease, to contact their local vet.

For the latest bluetongue virus update, including a series of comprehensive FAQs developed with Defra and industry visit – Bluetongue Virus - Ruminant Health & Welfare

Animal movements

Learn more about the situation, including new information on the licensing of animal movements, on the BTV-3 update 15/11 - Ruminant Health & Welfare page.

Bluetongue is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect it you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. In Wales, contact 0300 303 8268. In Scotland, contact your local Field Services Office. Failure to do so is an offence.

Visit Bluetongue: how to spot and report the disease - GOV.UK.

To apply for a specific licence to move animals in, out or within in a bluetongue disease control zone, visit Bluetongue: apply for a specific movement licence – GOV.UK.

Bluetongue hotline

Farmers and keepers located in or around the control zone can contact the dedicated bluetongue hotline to ask questions or seek advice on the outbreak. The hotline can be reached at 024 7771 0386 on weekdays between 9am and 5pm. 

If you are in the control zone

If you are in the bluetongue 10km Temporary Control Zone, you may be contacted by telephone to discuss surveillance requirements.

Surveillance is likely to require a visit and sampling of some or all of your animals.

More information on bluetongue, how to spot and report the disease, restrictions within the zone and how to apply for movement licences is available on Bluetongue: how to spot and report the disease.

The Bluetongue Virus - Ruminant Health & Welfare ( is updated daily with resources and information.

The TCZ (temporary control zone) 

Following the first initial case in Kent, Defra introduced a 10km Temporary Control Zone in the area. The control zone will to enable them to undertake enhanced surveillance and restrict movements of susceptible animals in that area.

The 10km TCZ declaration has gone live on GOV.UK on the links below. There is a map in the declaration itself and there is an interactive map at the third link below.

To confirm, Ashford market is not outside of the zone.

The declaration can be accessed at: BTV-TCZ-declaration-BTD-2023-01-near-Canterbury-Canterbury-Kent.pdf ( See the map below.

Keepers in the zone will have received text messages from APHA signposting them to online content with new information on Bluetongue. Messages from APHA have also gone to keepers outside the zones with more generic info. 


Visit Defra Imports, exports and EU trade of animals and animal products: topical issues for more information on trade.

The situation in the EU

Outbreaks of BTV-3 have been reported across The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

The Netherlands is the most impacted, with over 1,400 clinically positive cases and over 3,500 PCR positive cases in sheep and cattle as of November 2023.

Cases have also been reported in Belgium and Germany. 

Bluetongue virus is a Category C listed disease under EU Animal Health Law.

The impacted Member States are calling for swift development of an effective vaccine for the new strain. 

NFU comment

NFU President Minette Batters said: “We have been informed by Defra of a single case of bluetongue on a farm in Kent over the weekend. A 10km Temporary Control Zone is now in place in the area, alongside surveillance testing and movement restrictions.

“The Chief Veterinary Officer has not confirmed an outbreak as this is only done once they can confirm infected midges are circulating. We are working to support our members in the area and urge farmers to remain vigilant for signs of the disease and get in contact with Defra or the APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) if you suspect a case.”

Read more around the net

Ask us a question about this page

Once you have submitted your query someone from NFU Cymru will contact you. If needed, your query will then be passed to the appropriate NFU policy team.

You have 0 characters remaining.

By completing the form with your details on this page, you are agreeing to have this information sent to the NFU for the purposes of contacting you regarding your enquiry. Please take time to read the NFU’s Privacy Policy if you require further information.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.