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Scots Must Plan for Schmallenberg Risk

06 November 2012

SCOTLAND, UK - The growing number of animals infected with the Schmallenberg virus (SBV) has prompted National Farmers Union (NFU) Scotland to re-issue its call for farmer vigilance.

The growing number of animals infected with the Schmallenberg virus (SBV) has prompted NFU (National Farmer's Union)Scotland to re-issue its call for farmer vigilance.

Exposure to SBV can result in relatively mild conditions in cattle and sheep but where infection takes place during the early stage of pregnancy; it can result in congenital disorders of lambs and calves, stillbirths and abortions.

Spread by midges, it was first identified as a new virus on German and Dutch farms last year and spread throughout parts of Europe and southern England. Results from surveillance across GB indicate much wider evidence of spread of SBV and positive animals have been found in Scotland and the North of England. Last week, saw positive cases in Northern and Southern Ireland.

NFU Scotland, in partnership with Scottish Government, Moredun, SAC and Biobest, has put in place a scheme to help monitor the possible spread of SBV into Scotland from animals brought in from risk areas. The NFUS testing scheme, which covers the laboratory cost of the first four tests from farms, will remain open until 1 December 2012.

NFU Scotland President Nigel Miller said: “SBV is not a notifiable disease and although we have helped to put some surveillance in place, it is far from extensive. I think we have to prepare for the fact that the picture in Scotland can be expected to be worse that the tests reveal.

“Although there is no evidence of acute disease in Scotland, post-movement testing shows animals have moved into Scotland that have previously been exposed to the disease. Testing has been limited but finding a number of positive animals in Scotland highlights the probability that greater numbers of animals that have been exposed to the disease have been brought in.

“That increases the possibility that infectious animals may be amongst those imports. If SBV has moved into Scotland, the impact will depend on where the disease is, when it arrived and the temperature limits at which the disease can replicate within midges - all questions that we currently cannot answer.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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