Second case of Schmallenberg found in Oxfordshire

A second case of the potentially deadly Schmallenberg virus has been discovered on an Oxfordshire farm.

The first case in the county was reported last month amid concerns the virus is spreading from the south-east of England to other counties further north and west.

Latest figures from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency showed the virus has been reported on 276 farms in England and Wales.

There are now 220 confirmed cases in sheep and 53 in cattle, with three farms that reported the virus in sheep earlier in the year now reporting it in cattle.

Alick Simmons, DEFRA’s UK deputy chief veterinary officer, said this week the virus had not gone away and had likely survived the winter.

This is because a small number of cases – seven in sheep that have lambed in April and May – have been confirmed.

This indicates that the virus has been circulating in the new year over the winter, said Dr Simmons.

He warned cattle farmers in particular to look for symptoms in cows, which included fever, reduced milk yield, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, and to report any suspected cases to vets.

DEFRA said it would be stepping up its surveillance testing in counties where the virus has not been found.

This is being done by testing for Schmallenberg across a number of the samples being taken as part of the Brucella surveillance.

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