Schmallenberg Virus (SBV): Is the virus circulating in the cattle herds of Scotland?

In autumn 2011 the first evidence of a new virus infection of cattle was found in Germany and the Netherlands. This virus was called after the location of its first identification, hence Schmallenberg virus. It has since been shown to be spread by midges. The infection is relatively mild, but if it occurs during the critical stage of pregnancy, then the resulting calf, lamb or kid can be deformed.

In the spring of 2012 Scottish Government requested SAC Veterinary Services to enhance the surveillance of deformed calves and lambs in Scotland. We looked at material from many herds and flocks from throughout Scotland, but found no evidence of infection with SBV, however infection was found in some counties in southern Great Britain.

As we are now in the peak of the midge season we are keen to receive notification of any cattle that may be infected with the virus and urge livestock keeper in Scotland to contact their veterinary practitioner if the following signs are seen in their cattle.

Case Definition

Lactating dairy cows - milk drop (>25% loss of yield over one or more days) AND increased temperature of 40oC or above, with or without diarrhoea, in three or more cows in a one week period.

All other cattle - pyrexia AND diarrhoea in two or more animals, over three months of  age, in a one week period.

Your veterinary surgeon can collect the samples required to diagnose the condition and these tests are provided free of charge for the duration of this initiative.

Further Information

For an up-to-date list of countries currently classified as affected by SBV or for the latest GB testing results visit the Defra/AHVLA Schmallenberg page.

Download other Farm Animal Services tests and submission forms.

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