Tackling Schmallenberg in the EU

EU - The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published its second report on the Schmallenberg virus (SBV). The report importantly shows that when based on worst case scenario assumptions, the number of infected ruminants is low compared to the total number of these animals in each Member State.
calendar icon 3 April 2012
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Strong cooperation from Member States is reflected in the calibre of data collected according to guidance provided by EFSA which was published last month in response to an urgent request from the European Commission. The data collected by Member States has allowed the Authority to analyse the current geographical distribution and impact of the disease in the European Union.

To date a total of 393 cases in cattle have been confirmed, however more are suspected of being infected with SBV.

A total of 2360 cases have been confirmed in bison, cattle, sheep and goats.

Numbers of affected animals has been steadily increasing, reports EFSA. An increase in the number of confirmed herds is observed up to the ninth week of 2012 followed by a steep decrease in the weeks 10 and 11. However, the latter should be interpreted with caution, given that the information from the last reporting week might be incomplete.

A tendency for reduction in the number of cases in lambs is observed from week 9 in 2012.

Regarding the number of cases in calves, the data are for the moment insufficient to draw any conclusions on the plausible evolution over time.

The observed pattern of case detection per species is in accordance with the hypothesis that infection may have occurred during a certain period of the gestation.

It is likely that virus circulation occurred between May and November 2011, with highest circulation of the virus in October 2011.

An analysis of the geographical / temporal distribution would not necessarily represent the spread of the infection since a lapse between infection, detection and confirmation is likely to occur. The number of affected regions with confirmed SBV cases is highest for sheep, while goats seem to be less affected.

Some caution nevertheless should be exerted when interpreting the data as underreporting or lack of diagnostic confirmation may affect the picture that we have today of the prevalence of the disease. Although all Member States have submitted detailed information about confirmed cases, only two also reported on suspected cases.

Data recommendations stated in this report will be used to refine further data collection. To ensure that an - as accurate as possible - evolution of SBV is known, EFSA will publish periodical reports on the status and analysis of the data collected. Furthermore, EFSA will assess the overall impact of the SBV infection on animal health, animal production and animal welfare together with a characterisation of the pathogen by 31 May 2012.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on Schmallenberg disease by clicking here.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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