The UK’s first bluetongue symposium for practitioners, featuring speakers from across the globe, has been announced.

Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, manufacturers of Bovilis BTV8 and Butox SWISH, is organising the conference, which takes place on July 2.

Keynote speaker at the event will be James Maclachlan, from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California. Prof Maclachlan will compare bluetongue serotype 8 to those others that present a threat in Europe in terms of prevalence and transplacental infection.

Dr L van Wuijckhuise, from the Netherlands, will discuss the results of surveillance studies that have helped to improve the understanding of vertical transmission, while Dr Nathalie Kirschvink, from the University of Namur, will explain studies on the effect of BTV infection on ram fertility.

Dr Chris Oura and Dr Simon Carpenter from IAH Pirbright plan to discuss the epidemiology of the virus and latest studies into the behaviour of the Culicoides midge respectively. The symposium will conclude with a presentation from Dr H Petit from France on the economic impact of the disease on dairy, beef and sheep units.

Ian Anderson, marketing manager for Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, said: “Bluetongue continues to present an extremely serious threat to the UK livestock sector, yet it is a relatively ‘new’ disease about which even the experts know and understand relatively little. Studies and trials are ongoing throughout the world, and this symposium has been designed to bring the very latest findings and opinions to UK vets.

“Ensuring maximum vaccination uptake in 2009 and the next three to five years is essential to prevent disease and economic loss and also to stop it becoming endemic in our livestock population.”

The symposium takes place in Manchester from 9am to 4.30pm and contributes five hours of CPD.

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