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Air-blown midges spreading the Schmallenbergvirus

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

ANTWERP the Schmallenberg Virus is a new emerging livestock disease that has been detected in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. It is similar to some other animal disease pathogens, such as Akabane and Shamonda viruses, which are transmitted by vectors, such as midges, mosquitoes and ticks. The virus has been associated with brief mild/moderate disease (milk drop, pyrexia, diarrhea) in adult cattle and late abortion or birth defects in newborn cattle, sheep and goats. Evidence currently suggests that the disease is being spread from infected midges blown around in the air. Farmers are requested to contact their veterinarian if they encounter cases of ruminant neonates or fetuses which are stillborn, show malformations or are showing nervous disease. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control suggests that there is a low likelihood of any risk to public health. There are numerous varieties of midges. The number of farms with infected animals runs into the hundreds.