Home > Pestilence > UK: New Disease Causing Abortions and Birth Deformities in Farm Animals Discovered in Britain for the First Time

UK: New Disease Causing Abortions and Birth Deformities in Farm Animals Discovered in Britain for the First Time

By Louise Gray – “A new virus, that causes abortions and birth deformities in farm animals, has been found in Britain for the first time.

Schmallenberg virus (SBV), which is spread by midges and affects cattle, sheep and goats, has been formally identified on four sheep farms in Norfolk, Suffolk and East Sussex.

At the moment farmers are not required to notify the authorities so animals with the disease may end up in the food chain, however it is not thought to be harmful to humans.

Farmers are concerned because of the distressing nature of finding animals with dead or deformed young and the possibility the virus may be spread further as the weather warms.

Vets believe the virus was carried over to eastern England via midges from the northern Europe, where it was first identified last August.

The disease first appeared in cattle in the Netherlands and Germany in August 2011. Clinical signs included fever, reduced milk yield and diarrhoea.

More recently, from November, the virus has been associated with reports of miscarriages and stillbirths associated with congenital abnormalities affecting mainly sheep but also cattle and goats, in northern Europe.

Russia and Mexico have banned imports of sheep and goat meat and live animals from the Netherlands and China has asked for more information.

If Britain loses its export market it will cost the country billions.” Read more.

Categories: Pestilence
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