Animal Health: Schmallenberg Virus

Schmallenberg Virus (SBV)

So called, because it was first identified by the Friederich-Loeffler Institute in the town of Schmallenberg, North West Germany, in late 2011.

SBV is a novel virus of the genus Orthobunyavirus, which are known pathogens associated with disease in farm animals. Clinical signs of fever, decreased milk production and diarrhoea were first noted in adult cattle. Late abortion and birth deformities in newborn cattle, sheep and goats have since been observed. Likely vectors of the disease are biting midges and mosquitoes. Along with Germany, outbreaks were also reported in mainland Europe. The UK was considered at risk in the latter half of 2011, and cases were first reported in January 2012.

A degree of uncertainty surrounds the virus, and whether SBV may pose a risk to human health or wild animals.

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