14 Apr 2010 14:44

Russia lifts 11-yr ban on meat imports from Bulgaria

MOSCOW. April 14 (Interfax) - Russia has lifted a ban on imports of meat and other livestock products from Bulgaria that was imposed almost eleven years ago in August of 1999 over bluetongue virus.

Russia's Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Oversight Agency Rosselkhoznadzor said the epizootic situation in Bulgaria had improved to where it was possible to lift the ban.

Bluetongue is a disease of ruminant livestock that affects mucous membranes in the oral cavity, digestive tract and hooves. It also causes dystrophy and skeleton-muscular deformation.

The very infectious disease has been found in Europe and a number of North African countries. The situation in some countries is such that requires all ruminant livestock to be vaccinated.

Rosselkhoznadzor said recently that Russia could face having to spend from 30 to 300 million rubles vaccinating livestock against bluetongue.