Farmers in Wales are being urged to watch out for bluetongue in their animals.

This warning comes from Wales’ chief veterinary officer, as there is an increased risk of contracting the virus from midges during this period of the year.

The virus does not affect people or food safety, but does affect livestock such as cattle, goats, sheep, and camelids like llamas.

Midges, the primary transmitters of the disease, are most active between April and November.

It is important to note that Bluetongue is a notifiable disease, and any suspect cases need to be reported immediately to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

It's also worth noting that the impact on susceptible animals can vary greatly.

Some show no clinical signs or effects at all, while for others it can lead to productivity issues such as reduced milk yield or reproductive losses.

In severe cases, it can even prove fatal for the animals.

To help prevent the disease, farmers have been advised to source livestock responsibly, maintain good biosecurity on their premises and remain vigilant.

Richard Irvine, Wales’ chief veterinary officer, said: "As we enter this period where animals are more at risk from Bluetongue from midges, I would urge all keepers to take action now to protect their herds and flocks to keep disease out, be aware of how to spot Bluetongue and report any suspected cases immediately".

Those considering importing animals or biological products from affected countries should always consult their vet on the risks and the legality of this action.

It is also highly advised for all businesses to ensure they have a contingency plan detailing their response to outbreaks on their premises.

Mr. Irvine added: "Wales has never had a case of Bluetongue – but – with past cases in England and in Europe we are encouraging people to be vigilant and prepared for Bluetongue to strike again."

If Bluetongue is suspected in your animals, your local APHA must be contacted immediately on 0300 303 8268.

For additional information on the Bluetongue situation and resources, readers are advised to check the Ruminant Health and Welfare website.