Enhanced Surveillance Detects Acute Schmallenberg in Cattle

UK - The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) has detected evidence of acute Schmallenberg virus disease in adult dairy cattle in four counties in southern England this Summer. The affected counties - Cornwall, Dorset, Somerset and Oxfordshire - are in the known Schmallenberg-affected area.
calendar icon 21 September 2012
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The detections follow the recent introduction by the AHVLA and the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) of an enhanced surveillance initiative for acute Schmallenberg virus – where animals show transient signs such as diarrhoea, fever and reduction in milk yield, with full recovery over a period of a few days. The results will provide information about where the disease is circulating and allow farmers to plan for any likely impact to their businesses.

Simon Hall, Veterinary Director at AHVLA, said: “Our findings indicate that the Schmallenberg virus has survived the winter and is being actively spread by midges in these, and possibly other, areas. Although we have seen a relatively limited impact from the disease on British farms, we recognise the concern it causes for farmers whose livestock are affected.

“Clinical signs in adult livestock are short-lived and the disease is not fatal. We believe there will be a good level of immunity in animals that were infected in 2011. Female animals that develop immunity before they become pregnant are unlikely to give birth to affected offspring.”

The enhanced surveillance for acute Schmallenberg virus in cattle follows the successful enhanced surveillance, introduced in December 2011, for foetal deformities which were the consequence of the incursion of Schmallenberg into southern England in 2011.

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