The Xunta has declared five new outbreaks of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHE) in Galicia. In particular, one in the province of Ourense, in the town hall of A Mezquita (veterinary region of A Gudiña); three in the province of Lugo, in the towns of Guitiriz (Terra Cha Guitiriz), A Pastoriza (Terra Cha Castro) and Taboada (Chantada); and the first focused in the province of Pontevedra, in the town hall of Vila de Cruces (Deza). Except for the case of the Guitiriz farm, with four affected cows, in the remaining cases, only one animal out of the total number of cows present on the farm showed symptoms consistent with this disease.
Of the 13 outbreaks reported by Galicia so far, in several veterinary regions of our community, the death of 10 cattle due to EHE has been recorded so far.
In this sense, it is necessary to point out that EHE is a contagious but non-contagious disease caused by a virus transmitted to animals only through the bite of mosquitoes of the genus Culicoides, spp.
Due to the route of transmission, this disease appears while the mosquito vector exists circulating in the environment. Therefore, there is a period of possible animal infection (approximately from April to December) and another, in the winter months, where, since there is no circulation of the vector, there is no possibility of infection in animals.
The only way to infect animals is through the bite of mosquitoes, so direct or indirect transmission between them is not possible. In addition, it must be clarified that this disease does not affect people, neither through the bite of a transmitting mosquito, nor contact with infected animals, nor the consumption of products of animal origin (meat, milk…) from it. animals.
Impact on livestock
In the same way, it should be remembered that EHE especially affects wild ruminants, mainly deer, roe deer, or fallow deer. Not domestic animals, only cattle are affected by the manifestation of symptoms in some animals. Sheep can also be infected but show no symptoms, while goats are not sensitive to this disease.
Regarding the preliminary studies carried out in Spain, in the autonomous communities affected this year by EHE, they show an average morbidity (number of animals showing symptoms compared to the total population) of 7.53% and an average mortality of animals affected less than. 1% (0.51%).
In cattle, moderate symptoms may occur, with fever, loss of appetite, facial edema, ocular and/or nasal discharge, salivation, difficulty breathing, erythema or peeling of the mouth and nose, lameness or erythema of the udder, symptoms that usually disappear. .in approximately two weeks. Regarding sheep and goats, there is no evidence of clinical disease in the animals.
In addition, it should be noted that there is no vaccine or specific curative treatment against the EHE virus. Therefore, the possible preventive measures to be taken regarding this disease are uselessly aimed at avoiding contact of animals with the mosquito vector, specifically:
- Avoid the existence of places that can be breeding for the transmission of mosquitoes in the fields, mainly in places with wet organic matter or mud, places chosen for these mosquitoes.
- Be cautious in the use of disinfectants or repellents in facilities, in means of transportation or in animals, in cases where it is considered appropriate.
- If animals with symptoms consistent with the disease are found, both cattle and wild deer, this situation must be reported immediately to the official veterinary service of the Department of Rural Affairs.