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Schmallenberg virus

Schmallenberg Virus is a new emerging livestock disease that has been detected in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.

It is similar to some other animal disease pathogens, such as Akabane and Shamonda viruses, which are transmitted by vectors, such as midges, mosquitoes and ticks.

The virus has been associated with brief mild/moderate disease (milk drop, pyrexia, diarrhoea) in adult cattle and late abortion or birth defects in newborn cattle, sheep and goats.

All the evidence currently suggests that the disease was brought into the UK from infected midges blown across the Channel.  We have seen no evidence to suggest that it was from imported livestock. We are closely tracking the disease and will continue to work with partners across Europe and the UK to develop our knowledge of the disease.

Schmallenberg Virus is not a notifiable disease but farmers are asked to contact their veterinary surgeon if they encounter cases of ruminant neonates or fetuses which are stillborn, show malformations or are showing nervous disease. Veterinary surgeons should then contact their local AHVLA Laboratory (England and Wales) or SAC Disease Surveillance Centre (Scotland) if they suspect infection with the virus.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control suggests that there is a low likelihood of any risk to public health.

Further information

Please contact your local AHVLA Regional Laboratory or SAC Disease Surveillance Centre if you require further guidance or information.

Preliminary outbreak assessments

Page last modified: 10 May 2013