Livestock farmers are being urged to be vigilant after a new disease, the Schmallenberg (SBV) virus, was found on four sheep farms in eastern England. Although the disease is not notifiable, DEFRA says it wants farmers to report all suspicious cases. The disease, first discovered in Germany, has been linked to miscarriages and still births in sheep, cattle and goats. Symptoms include fever, reduced milk yield, loss of appetite and body condition, and in some cases diarrhoea, with symptoms disappearing after a few days.
DEFRA says the true extent of Schmallenberg is unknown. Like Bluetongue, the disease is transmitted by midges. But scientists believe that the threat from SBV to human health is very low. However, are you worried about this disease and do you have concerns that your stock may have been affected?
Philip Case, Deputy News Editor, Farmers Weekly.