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Farmers Reminded to be Aware of Schmallenberg

29 October 2012

SCOTLAND, UK - Farmers in Scotland are being reminded to maintain good biosecurity, source stock sensibly and seek veterinary advice if they have concerns about the health of their stock.

The reminder follows results from surveillance from across GB (including Scotland) that indicates evidence of exposure to Schmallenberg virus in areas where it hasn’t previously been detected.

While no acute cases have been recorded in Scotland, SAC Consulting Veterinary Services report that some animals on 3 farms have tested positive for Schmallenberg antibodies following testing after moving into Scotland from areas of England and Wales. This suggests these animals have been previously exposed to the disease.

Animal movements are the most likely source of any incursion of SBV into Scotland. As there is no available vaccine, the Scottish Government - in partnership with Moredun, SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College), Biobest and key Scottish industry organisations - is encouraging producers in Scotland to consider, with their veterinary practitioners, the advisability of testing introduced breeding stock for evidence of SBV antibody.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "Whilst Schmallenberg virus may be a relatively low impact disease, infection during particular stages of pregnancy could leads to problems around lambing or calving time.

"Farmers should therefore exercise caution when importing animals into their farm and discuss with their vet any appropriate use of commercially available testing for Schmallenberg, and indeed screening for any other livestock disease."

NSA Scotland’s Development Officer, George Milne, said: "The recent announcement about the new cases does raise concerns as to how widely spread the disease may be. It Is particularly worrying as to what may have occurred over the last two months during the major sheep trading period. Those who have purchased sheep from affected areas may wish to discuss with their vet the benefit of testing as an aid to future management."

NFU Scotland's Animal Health Policy Manager Penny Johnston said: "Given these developments, Scottish livestock producers importing stock from SBV-risk areas are encouraged to take up the NFUS/Scottish Government/SRUC’s/Biobest scheme to screen animals for the virus. In conjunction with their vet, farmers should arrange to have a number of their animals tested 14 to 21 days after arrival. Samples should be sent to SRUC or Biobest with a completed submission form detailing that the test is part of the NFUS post-movement testing scheme and including the animals’ breed, source and identification number.

"Anyone concerned about virus and their traditional timing for putting out bulls and rams, should talk the issue through with their vet."

Further Reading

Find out more information on Schmallenberg by clicking here.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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