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Schmallenberg Case in Aberdeenshire Beef Herd

Published Wednesday, 19th June 2013 in SAC Consulting news

An image of the Schmallenberg virus
An image of an animal virus

A case of Schmallenberg Disease (SBV) has been confirmed in a calf born to a homebred, suckler heifer on a farm outside Aberdeen.

The calf was severely deformed and the veterinary surgeon had to assist with the calving. SAC Consulting, Veterinary Services, part of Scotland’s Rural College, carried out the post mortem examination and, together with Moredun Institute, performed confirmatory tests.

Confirmation of a case of SBV in Aberdeenshire is unexpected because, to date, the only cases in Scotland have been in Dumfries and Galloway. Initial investigations suggest the virus was possibly introduced with store cattle from Dumfriesshire last autumn. Midges could have spread the virus from the store cattle to the homebred stock while the cattle were housed over the winter.

SBV is an infectious disease spread by midges. The virus causes abortions and birth defects in animals when the dam is infected in the first third of pregnancy. It has caused serious losses among cattle and sheep on some farms in England, Wales, Ireland and continental Europe. A vaccine was launched earlier this month by MSD Animal Health. This new information on the spread of SBV so far north will help to inform vets and farmers of the risks of the further spread of SBV over the coming summer and autumn.

SRUC advises any farmers who encounter foetal abnormalities, stillbirths or newborns showing signs of nervous disease are advised should contact their vet, or local SAC Consulting: Veterinary Services Disease Surveillance Centre (DSC). They should not assume these are cases of Schmallenberg virus infection as other diseases can cause birth defects in lambs and calves and it is important to know which disease you are dealing with.

SRUC is not in a position to identify the farm involved. For any other enquiries contact SAC Veterinary Services Manager Brian Hosie on 0131 535 3140 or 07803 222366,  

Further information on Schmallenberg disease (SBV)

Please visit our Veterinary Services Disease Hot Topics section.

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