Schmallenberg Virus is a new emerginglivestock disease that has been detected inBelgium, Germany, the Netherlands and theUK. It is similar to some other animal diseasepathogens, such as Akabane and Shamondaviruses, which are transmitted by vectors, suchas midges, mosquitoes and ticks. The virus has been associated with briefmild/moderate disease (milkdrop, pyrexia, diarrhoea) in adult cattle andlate abortion or birth defects in newborncattle, sheep and goats.
“The disease first emerged in the Netherlands and Germany last year.”
Between August and October 2011, outbreaks of disease in adult cattle that included mild to moderate fever, reduced milk yield, loss of appetite, loss of body condition and diarrhoea were reported in both the Netherlands and Germany. Testing for common causes proved negative. From November 2011, abortion and stillbirths associated with foetal abnormalities, affecting mainly sheep but also cattle and goats, were identified in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. A new virus was identified in December 2011 as the cause of both conditions. This was named „Schmallenberg virus‟ after the German town where the virus was first identified.
“The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, which detected thedisease in the UK farms, said it was continuing to monitor it.”
Species per Country: Positive or Negative ◦ Netherlands Cattle 8/275 Sheep 95/73 Goat 5/15 ◦ Germany Cattle 36 Sheep 601 Goat 31
“It can lead to late abortions and birth deformities in newborn sheep, goats and cattle and is thought to be spread by midges.”
“In adult cows, cases of acute infection haveresulted in diarrhoea, fever, a reduction in milkyield, with a full and rapid recovery over severaldays. Affected herds had outbreaks of diseaselasting two to three weeks. In newborn animals and fetuses, the diseasehas been presented as malformations includingbent limbs and fixed joints, brain deformities andmarked damage to the spinal cord. Some animalsare born with a normal outer appearance but havenervous signs such as a „dummy‟ presentation orblindness, ataxia, recumbency, an inability to suckand sometimes fits. The foetal deformities varydepending on when infection occurred duringpregnancy.”
National Farmers Union chief livestock adviser Peter Garbutt said: "I would urge farmers to remain extra vigilant for signs of this disease and take all sensible precautions to prevent infection." The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs and the National Farmers Union are urging farmers and vets to report any suspicious cases.
“There is unlikely to be a risk to human healthfrom Schmallenberg virus; but this is not yet certain. Farmers and veterinary surgeons are advisedto take sensible hygiene precautions when workingwith livestock and abortion material. Althoughseveral members of the group of related viruses canaffect humans, the ability to do so is thought to bedue to a gene sequence which is not present inSchmallenberg virus. Pregnant women should not have contact withsheep and goats at lambing/kidding time due torisks of exposure to other disease causingorganisms.”
Can lead to late abortions and birth deformities in newborn sheep, goats and cattle Reduced milk yield and diarrhea for adult cows First emerged in the Netherlands and Germany in 2011 Virus named after the German town where it was first seen Different organizations advises farms to report any suspicious cases and to take precautions to prevent infections. Unlikely risk to harm human; but advised to take hygienic precautions