Epidemiological characteristics and clinicopathological features of bluetongue in sheep and cattle, during the 2014 BTV serotype 4 incursion in Greece
Starting August 2006, a major epidemic of bluetongue (BT) was identified in North-West Europe, affecting The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the North of France. It was caused by BT virus serotype 8 (BTV-8), a serotype previously unknown to the European Union (EU). In this outbreak, the virus caused clinical disease in a few individual animals within cattle herds, whereas overt clinical disease was usually restricted to sheep. Investigations in Belgium suggested that the first clinical signs of BTV-8 appeared mid July 2006 in a cattle herd, while the first suspicion of a BT-outbreak in Belgium was reported on 17 August 2006. In the first 10 BTV-8 outbreaks in the Netherlands, the owners indicated that the first clinical signs started approximately 12-17 days before a suspicion was reported to the veterinary authorities via a veterinary practitioner. In BTV-8 affected sheep flocks, erosions of the oral mucosa, fever, salivation, facial and mandibular oedema, apathy and tiredness, mortality, oedema of the lips, lameness, and dysphagia were among the most frequent clinical signs recorded. The most prominent clinical signs in BTV-8 affected cattle herds were: crusts/lesions of the nasal mucosa, erosions of lips/crusts in or around the nostrils, erosions of the oral mucosa, salivation, fever, conjunctivitis, coronitis, muscle necrosis, and stiffness of the limbs. Crusts/lesions of nasal mucosa, conjunctivitis, hyperaemic/purple coloration and lesions of the teats, and redness/hypersensitivity of the skin were relatively more seen on outbreak farms with cattle compared to sheep. Mortality, oedema of the head and ears, coronitis, redness of the oral mucosa, erosions/ulceration of tongue mucosa, purple coloration of the tongue and tongue protrusion and dyspneu were relatively more seen on outbreak farms with sheep compared to cattle.