September 4 2015
Yesterday, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) informed the provincial Chief Veterinary Officers that 3 bovines were confirmed to have Bluetongue Disease (BT) in the south western part of Ontario, approximately 100 km from the US border. The first animal was found through the national surveillance program on a sample collected August 7th. On September 2nd two herd mates were confirmed seropositive which established that animal-to-animal transmission had occurred, as no animals on the premises had been to or in contact with animals from an endemic country. The virus was identified as serotype 13.
Up until today, Canada has been considered free of BT; however, the Okanagan in BC has long been considered endemic for the disease. That region was set up as a compartment following a massive effort by the CFIA between 1976 and 1988, allowing the rest of Canada to retain a national disease-free status. Today, all of Canada becomes endemic for BT.
BT is caused by a virus that is transmitted between animals by biting midges (Culicoides species). It was previously thought that Ontario and Eastern Canada did not have the right vectors to transmit BT.
- Certain strains of BT are endemic (occurs regularly) in the US and Mexico and the Okanagan Valley of BC.
- BT serotype 13, along with serotypes 2, 10, 11, and 17, was removed from the reportable disease list by the CFIA in 2010. These serotypes are now immediately notifiable federally and the CFIA does not take regulatory action when these serotypes are found. All other serotypes are still considered exotic and are federally reportable diseases subject to regulatory control.
- There will be no regulatory response by the CFIA to this finding.
- CFIA will be reporting the finding to the OIE today.
- CFIA has informed the national ruminant associations.
- Canada has been declaring itself free of BT (with the exception of the Okanagan) on export certificates for live ruminants, embryos and semen. This will not be possible anymore.
- The CFIA will not be issuing anymore export certificates for these products until they have renegotiated the terms of export certification with each country individually.
- Exports to the US and Mexico should not be affected as they are endemic for the same strain of BT. Minimal impact to trade with the EU is expected, as that region is also endemic for BT.
Information on Bluetongue can be found on the CFIA website at