The first case of the Schmallenberg virus (SBV) on a Scottish farm has been confirmed.
Scotland’s Rural University College (SRUC) said a deformed calf born into a Dumfriesshire suckler herd had tested positive for the virus.
Last month, eight dairy cows on SRUC’s Barony Campus outside Dumfries had tested positive for antibodies to SBV, although there has been no evidence of any calving problems with that herd. The deformed beef calf is the first animal in Scotland to be identified as actually having the disease.
“The report of this recent calving in Dumfriesshire would indicate SBV was spread by midges in the area during last autumn,” said Brian Hosie, head of SAC Veterinary Services.
“We would urge farmers to be more alert than ever to potential problems among cattle or sheep and discuss any concerns with their veterinary surgeons.”
SBV is spread by midges and classically causes brain defects and foetal malformations, particularly deformities of the limbs.
The virus was first identified in the south of England in early 2012 having spread from mainland Europe. The disease has gradually spread north and has been identified among lambing flocks and calving herds in other parts of England and Wales.
The effects can be variable with some farms suffering high lamb or calf mortality while other herds or flocks suffer few effects.
SBV is not notifiable in the UK and no restrictions are placed on infected premises. Best practice guidelines for those sourcing stock from risk areas can be found at www.sruc.ac.uk and www.moredun.org.uk/sbv.
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