Schmallenberg cases rising in Europe

Cases of the Schmallenberg virus in cattle, sheep and goats continue to rise across continental Europe.

Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium have so far borne the brunt of the disease which is transmitted by insect vectors.

Germany has 106 confirmed cases – a five-fold increase in the past seven days (23 January to 30 January). Statistics for The Netherlands show that 349 farms have reported symptoms, a 50% increase on numbers reported on 25 January. Of those, 87 cases have been confirmed with the disease and 71 are still under investigation. The remainder have proved inconclusive.

In Belgium 285 farms have been tested and cases found to date on 62 units. France has now also reported two incidences while the UK remains at four confirmed cases in the south and east of England.

The worsening situation has prompted Russia to suspend imports of sheep and sheep meat from the three countries hit hardest by the disease, according to red meat promotion body EBLEX.

“It is likely that import restrictions may be issued on product from the UK,” a statement by EBLEX said. But it added that the UK shipped only 5,000kg of sheep meat to Russia.

The Russian state veterinary service has said its controls would remain in place while it sought more information on key features of the virus, including methods of diagnosis, control and prevention.

The agency has also threatened to extend the ban to more livestock products.

The Schmallenberg virus causes deformation in the neck, head and limbs of cattle sheep and goats and was named after a German town where it was first found last year.

For more on the disease go to our Schmallenberg resources page

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