Schmallenberg virus can affect all ruminant species and has been particularly evident in cattle and sheep populations.

Symptoms of the Schmallenberg virus

The virus itself gives rise to only mild symptoms in cattle which are transient including fever, drop in milk yield and sometimes diarrhoea. In sheep few if any signs are exhibited. If ruminant animals should become infected when pregnant, it can lead to abortion or malformations in the foetus.

This is not a notifiable disease, and no control measures are required

There are no human health implications associated with the disease, nor any food safety implications.

Farmers are asked to inform their veterinary surgeon of any stillbirth, malformation or nervous disease in new born animals or foetuses born to ruminant dams. In addition, all farmers are asked to inform their PVPs about any serious malformations or nervous signs in new born animals in their herds or flocks.

As there is uncertainty about the method of spread, good biosecurity practices should be followed, especially when dealing with imported animals. This includes the single use of needles and good disinfection procedures when dealing with products of afterbirth.

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