That’s Farming has learned that a significant schmallenberg outbreak may be on the way for 2018. Official veterinary research sources confirmed to the website that there has been ‘plenty of evidence that there has been a spread of the virus this year.’
2016 saw the return of Schmallenberg to Ireland, the deformity causing disease was confirmed in two separate cases in cattle in 2016 in Laois and Cork.
The news of a potentially large scale schmallenberg outbreak for 2018 is as a result of ideal weather conditions for the virus this summer.
Speaking to That’s Farming the senior source said;
‘We have seen a significant spread in the summer with traits being reported.’
The virus, known as SBV was first recorded in Germany in Schmallenberg. The virus does not pose a threat to humans but causes serious and fatal problems for offspring of pregnant livestock. It can strike pregnant cows or sheep and infected animals will give birth to malformed offspring which are already dead or die shortly afterwards.
The disease is spread by midges carrying the disease.
‘At this point in time there’s nothing we can do about it [schmallenberg] the important time was what happened in summer and [unfortunately] we had reports of cows with high fever and back in milk, telltale signs of the virus,’ the source told That’s Farming.
The symptoms of SBV in newborn ruminants include:
- Bent limbs
- Fixed joints
- Twisted neck/spine
- Short jaw
- Domed skull
- Brain & spinal cord deformities
- Dummy calf – not sucking
- HAS – hydranencephaly arthrogryposis syndrome
Adult ruminants that are infected will often fully recover within a few days; herds are affected for two to three weeks on average. Symptoms in adult ruminants with SBV include:
- Weak appetite
- Reduced milk yield
- Sometimes diarrhoea
- Affected animals recover fully within a few days
- Herds are affected for two to three weeks
The Schmallenberg virus has affected world trade in recent years, as China banned the import of ovine and bovine genetic material from Denmark, Germany, the UK, and France from fears that the Schmallenberg virus would spread.