SAC Joins Testing Initiative for Schmallenberg Virus

SCOTLAND, UK - SAC is adding its weight to an initiative offering farmers in Scotland free tests for SBV the Schmallenberg virus in animals imported from areas where the virus is circulating.
calendar icon 10 September 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

The move is a result of a partnership involving the Scottish Government, NFUS SAC and Moredun Research Institute.

NFUS have offered additional support for SAC Veterinary labs to test, free of charge, up to four blood samples per farm from either cattle or sheep moved from areas known to be affected by SBV. Stock sourced from an area south of a line from Lincolnshire, to the Severn Estuary, will be eligible.

The Scottish Government already funds SAC and Moredun to investigate clinical cases where SBV infection is a potential diagnosis. The cost to farmers is the standard Scottish Government subsidised rate for such investigations.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “News of any emerging disease is always concerning for farmers and livestock keepers.”

“However, we now have a clearer idea of how the virus spreads and the relatively short time taken for animals to develop immunity. By testing animals that have been recently moved to Scotland we will get an early warning if the virus arrives in Scotland and will be able to trace its spread.”

Nigel Miller from NFUS said: "With Scotland probably at the northern edge of SBV's range, it is uncertain how the virus will behave if imported with autumn livestock movements As livestock movements peak over the next few weeks, however, SBV could establish in new areas, including Scotland. Ewes or cows in early pregnancy are the main concern. Post-movement testing can act as an early warning for those sourcing livestock from the south. Anonymous data can be shared through regional incidence mapping and inform the wider community of any developing disease risk.“

Brian Hosie – SAC Consulting, Veterinary Services, Group Manager said: “SAC fully supports this initiative, which is designed to help Scotland’s livestock sector understand more about a disease, which poses a real threat to the industry. We would urge livestock keepers to be alert, consult with their vets and do nothing which puts Scotland at any additional risk.”

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