Schmallenberg Case Confirmed in County Cork

IRELAND - Schmallenberg has been confirmed in a bovine foetus in County Cork, Ireland.
calendar icon 1 November 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has been carrying out surveillance since February 2012 and this is the first time that the presence of the virus has been identified in Ireland.

As the virus has been spreading rapidly across Europe over the past year, finding evidence of the virus in Ireland is not unexpected. The Department is carrying out epidemiological investigations seeking to establish the likely source of infection.

The virus does not given rise to any human health concerns, nor has it any food safety implications. In general, the virus causes mild disease in adult cattle, whilst it is not seen to cause any clinical signs in adult sheep or goats. The clinical signs which were seen in cattle in Europe during 2011 and 2012 are transient, and include fever, a drop in milk production and sometimes diarrhoea. When infection occurs in animals that are not pregnant, the impact is very limited. However if ruminant animals are infected during the early stages of pregnancy, they may subsequently abort or give birth to malformed offspring.

Whilst Schmallenberg virus is not a notifiable disease, the Department will continue to carry out surveillance for Schmallenberg virus. Farmers are asked to contact their veterinary practitioner if they encounter cases of aborted foetuses or newborn animals showing malformations or nervous signs. Veterinary practitioners should then contact their Regional Veterinary Laboratory if they suspect infection with the virus. Currently there is no licensed vaccine available.

Irish Farmers Association (IFA) John Bryan said: “This is a non-notifiable virus, which does not have any trade implications and poses no threat to human health. The real concern for farmers is the possible losses on farm due to an increase in foetal mortality.” MrBryan urged farmers to be vigilant."

President of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association, Gabriel Gilmartin said: “It is very disappointing that the disease has turned up in Ireland. It is important to note that the virus does not present any danger to human health, nor does it have any food safety implications, so there is no need for concern among consumers and the general public.”

“However, there is a real concern that farmers may face an increase in the number of abortions in cows and sheep, which is distressing and may have a financial impact. I would urge all farmers to be extremely vigilant, and also to be cautious if they are importing any livestock, as the virus has been identified in 10 countries across Europe to date."

Further Reading

Find out more information on schmallenberg by clicking here.

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