Animal Health Professionals Site

2 June 2016

Bluetongue vaccine available from MSD Animal Health

MILTON KEYNES, UK, 2nd June 2016 – With an 80% chance that the bluetongue virus will reach the south of the country later this summer1, MSD Animal Health (a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA.) has moved quickly to ensure a vaccine is available to help British farmers and vets prevent the disease securing a foothold in the UK.

The company has signed an agreement with respected Spanish-based veterinary biopharmaceutical specialist CZ Veterinaria S.A. (CZV) to distribute its BLUEVAC BTV8 bluetongue vaccine throughout Great Britain. BLUEVAC BTV8 is an established vaccine, having been used in Europe for a number of years.

According to John Atkinson, MSD Animal Health vet and Technical Manager, the availability of BLUEVAC BTV8 is good news for the British livestock industry and demonstrates how pharmaceutical companies are responding to changing disease threats.

“Bluetongue is an increasing threat to cattle and sheep in Europe, including the UK. This agreement means that we can help meet farmers’ needs later this summer – more quickly than we can fast track manufacture and supply of our own vaccine,” he said.

MSD Animal health anticipates that supplies of BLUEVAC BTV8 will be available to selected European countries, including the UK, in mid-July.

“Conveniently, BLUEVAC BTV8 is licensed for both cattle and sheep, and can be used during pregnancy. All animals should be given a primary course of two injections under the skin, three weeks apart. The immunity afforded by the vaccine lasts for a year after completion of the primary course,” added Mr Atkinson.

The company is currently in discussion with UK industry bodies and vets in practice to agree the most effective rollout of the vaccine to help protect cattle and sheep holdings in the most vulnerable areas of the country.

Farmers concerned about the local bluetongue threat should discuss the situation with their vet.

1 A recent Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) risk assessment suggests there is an 80% chance of Bluetongue virus (BTV8) reaching the southern counties of the UK in late summer as the result of infected midges being blown across from France to the south east of England. Risk assessment for Bluetongue Virus (BTV-8): risk assessment of entry into the United Kingdom. Qualitative Risk Assessment; DEFRA; February 2016.

About Bluetongue transmission
Bluetongue is not a contagious disease. Effective transmission only occurs when virus is inoculated parentally into a susceptible animal. Different culicoides insect species (e.g. midges) act as disease vectors and they are the most effective means of disease transmission. The epidemiology of bluetongue is closely related to the biology of the insect vector. Consequently, bluetongue is a seasonal disease generally seen in the late summer and early autumn. Virus transmission begins in the early spring with the onset of insect flight activity (when ambient average temperature exceeds 12°C) and continues until the first hard frosts.

Both cattle and sheep can be vaccinated BLUEVAC BTV8 from 2.5 months of age. The primary dose for cattle is 2x4ml subcutaneous doses three weeks apart (onset of immunity is 31 days after the second dose). The primary dose for sheep is 2x2ml subcutaneous doses three weeks apart (onset of immunity is 20 days after the second dose). Duration of immunity is one year.

CZ Veterinaria, SA (CZV) is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the prevention of animal diseases. CZV develops and manufactures veterinary vaccines and medicinal products to other companies and governments worldwide. Some of the most important production plants are “The Mycobacterium Plant”-the largest in the world for this type of bacteria-, “the Clostridia plant” -the largest of Europe-and the most recent, “the Aerobic Culture Plant”. For more information, visit or connect with us on LinkedIn.

Bluevac® BTV8, POM-V, is an inactivated vaccine containing Bluetongue virus inactivated, serotype 8. It is only available on prescription by a veterinary surgeon, from whom advice should be sought. It is the property of CZ Veterinaria SA or affiliated companies or licensors and is protected by copyrights, trademark and other intellectual property laws. For information regarding side effects, precautions, warnings and contra-indications please refer to the datasheet at Further information is available from MSD Animal Health, Walton Manor, Walton, Milton Keynes, MK7 7AJ. Tel: 01908 685 685 • ©2016 Intervet International B.V., also known as MSD Animal Health. All rights reserved.