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Agriculture: Bluetongue

Volume 700: debated on Tuesday 25 March 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What advice they are giving on risk to this year's lambs and spring-born suckled calves in the light of the fact that the bluetongue vaccine is only being licensed for stock over four months old. [HL2403]

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) is assessing the applications it has received for provisional marketing authorisations for bluetongue virus serotype 8 vaccines. None of the assessments has been completed, so it is not yet possible to state how any of the vaccines may be used in lambs or young calves. As soon as a provisional marketing authorisation is granted, the summary of product characteristics, which includes details of how the vaccine may be used, will be published on the VMD's website.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What level of immunity is expected to be passed from mothers vaccinated against bluetongue to unvaccinated offspring. [HL2404]

Vaccines for bluetongue virus serotype 8 are currently being developed. Relevant experiments on the transmission of immunity from dams to offspring have not yet been carried out. Provided sufficient levels of antibody are present in the dam, it is likely that colostral immunity would be passed to unvaccinated offspring. Such immunity might protect the offspring for around the first three months of its life. However, this needs to be confirmed experimentally.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What funding or contingency planning is in place for the National Fallen Stock Company or other bodies to provide an increased level of clearance service for fallen stock, given the risk of greater demand beyond May due to bluetongue. [HL2405]

Defra officials are in discussion with the National Fallen Stock Company on the potential need for an increased level of service as a result of the ongoing bluetongue outbreak.