The European Commission has banned the import of ruminants from Albania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Macedonia, to prevent the spread of the blue tongue virus which earlier this year devastated local flocks of sheep. The ban covers live animals, semen, embryos and ova of species susceptible to catching the disease, such as goats, sheep and cattle. Similar restrictions also apply within the European Union to the Balearics, Greece, Corsica and some parts of Italy.