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Food Safety

About Bluetongue

Infection with bluetongue virus (serotypes 1-24) (infection with BTV) is a non-contagious, insect-transmitted, viral disease of domestic and wild ruminants. See the Description of the disease section below for more information.

Infection with BTV is a disease regulated by Regulation (EU) 2016/429 that became applicable on 21 April 2021. Regulation (EU) 2016/429 and related legislation change the previous approach regarding this disease, laid down in the already repealed Council Directive 2000/75 (EEC). The new approach moves from a disease of immediate eradication to a disease that may be subject to optional eradication programmes.

Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1882 lists infection with BTV as a category C disease.

"Category C diseases" means listed diseases which are of relevance to some Member States and for which measures are needed to prevent them from spreading to parts of the Union that are officially disease-free or that have eradication programmes for the listed disease concerned, as referred to in Article 9(1)(c) of Regulation (EU) 2016/429.

This implies that the competent authorities of a given Member State may decide to implement an optional eradication programme with a view to eradicating all serotypes (from 1 to 24).

Legislation applicable to the optional eradication programmes for infection with BTV

Before 21 April 2021, infection with BTV control measures were laid down in:

Both pieces of legislation are repealed.

From 21 April 2021, the provisions for the optional eradication programmes for infection with BTV are laid down in Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/689 of 17 December 2019 supplementing Regulation (EU) 2016/429 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards rules for surveillance, eradication programmes, and disease-free status for certain listed and emerging diseases.

The main aspects of the optional eradication programmes for infection with BTV are a disease control strategy primarily based on vaccination of the relevant targeted animal population, supported by other activities such as surveillance, implementation of disease control measures, control of the movements of animals and germinal products, and minimising exposure to vectors.

Member States or zones thereof with disease status

The Member States or zones thereof with disease-free status or with an approved eradication programme are listed in Part I or Part II of Annex VIII of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/620 of 15 April 2021 laying down rules for the application of Regulation (EU) 2016/429.

A map with the Member States and zones with disease status ("disease-free" or "under eradication programme") can be found at

  • map [Updated 19 February 2024]

Movements within the EU

Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/688 provides for the movements of live animals within the EU.

The rules allow for certain derogations whereby the Member State of destination accepts animals in compliance with certain animal health conditions. To make these derogations operational, the Member State of destination must inform the Commission and the other Member States that the movements in compliance with certain animal health conditions are authorised.

The Commission has received the following information concerning the derogations:

Vector protected establishment for bluetongue

"Vector protected establishment" means part or all facilities of an establishment that are protected against attacks from Culicoides by appropriate physical and management means, with a status of vector protected establishment being granted by the competent authority in accordance with Article 44 of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 2020/689.

Seasonally BTV-free period

"Seasonally BTV-free area" means the whole territory of a Member State or a zone thereof where the competent authority has established such temporary status in accordance with Article 40(3) of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 2020/689, on the basis of a vector-free period and the demonstration of the absence of the disease in listed animal species.

Notification and Health Situation

Infection with BTV is a notifiable disease, according to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/2002.

For epidemiological information gathered through the EU Animal Disease Information System (ADIS), please see the "Notification System" page.

Information related to infection with BTV in the PAFF

The agenda and the presentations of the points being discussed in the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF) can be found on the "Animal Health and Welfare regulatory committee" page.

Description of the disease

Bluetongue is a non-contagious, insect-transmitted, viral disease of domestic and wild ruminants. It is not known to affect humans.

Disease characteristics - The disease is characterised by inflammation of the mucous membranes, congestion, swelling and haemorrhages. Sheep are generally the worst affected, while cattle and goats do not usually show any clinical signs of disease and can carry the virus for a certain period of time and transmit it to other ruminants.

Transmission - Via bite of certain species of Culicoides midges, which are biological vectors. It is not transmitted by direct or indirect contact between animals in the absence of the insects.

Sources of virus - Infected Culicoides.

Occurrence - The virus is present in a broad band of countries extending approximately between 40°N and 35°S. The bluetongue virus has been shown by serology to be present in regions where the Culicoides are present (e.g. Africa, the Americas, Australia, the Middle East and some countries of southern Asia and Oceania).

The bluetongue situation in the EU has considerably changed in recent times with incursions of new serotypes, namely of serotype 8 (in an area of the Union where outbreaks have never been reported before and which was not considered at risk of bluetongue) and also of serotype 1 of the virus in southern Europe.

Bluetongue can cause spectacular disease outbreaks and is an OIE listed disease.

Further information


Bluetongue conference on vaccination, held in Brussels - 16 January 2008