Bluetongue disease

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Bluetongue disease or catarrhal fever is a non-contagious, non-zoonotic, insect-borne, viral disease of ruminants, mainly sheep and less frequently cattle,[1] goats, buffalo, deer, dromedaries and antelope. It is caused by the Bluetongue virus (BTV).

There are no reports of human transmission. Although the tongues of human patients with some types of heart disease may be blue, this sign is not related to bluetongue disease.


Pathogen and vector

Bluetongue is caused by the pathogenic virus, Bluetongue virus (BTV),[2][3] of the genus Orbivirus, is a member of the Reoviridae family. There are 24 serotypes. It is transmitted by a midge, Culicoides imicola and other culicoids.

Bluetongue virus

Bluetongue virus causes serious disease in livestock (sheep, goats, cattle and deer). Partly due to this BTV has been in the forefront of molecular studies for last three decades and now represents one of the best understood viruses at the molecular and structural levels. BTV, like the other members of the family is a complex non-enveloped virus with seven structural proteins and a RNA genome consisting of 10 double-stranded (ds) RNA segments of different sizes. Data obtained from studies over a number of years have defined the key players in BTV entry, replication, assembly and exit and have increasingly found roles for host proteins at each stage. Specifically, it has been possible to determine the complex nature of the virion through 3D structure reconstructions (diameter ~ 800 Å); the atomic structure of proteins and the internal capsid (~ 700 Å, the first large highly complex structure ever solved); the definition of the virus encoded enzymes required for RNA replication; the ordered assembly of the capsid shell and the protein sequestration required for it; and the role of host proteins in virus entry and virus release. These areas are important for BTV replication but they also indicate the pathways that may be used by related viruses, which include viruses that are pathogenic to man and animals, thus providing the basis for developing strategies for intervention or prevention.

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