Schmallenberg virus found in two calves

For the first time in the Netherlands, the Schmallenberg virus has been detected in calves. The virus has to date (23 januari 2012) been found in sheep (72 cases) and goats (2 cases).

It was expected that calves would also be affected by the virus. The animals were infected at the same time as the sheep and the goats, although the symptoms of the virus only became apparent later due to the longer gestation period of bovine animals compared to sheep and goats and because multiple lambs are born on sheep farms, while single calves are normally born on cattle farms. No additional measures are required.

The Ministry reported these findings today to neighbouring countries and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). Henk Bleker, Minister for Agriculture and Foreign Trade raised the issue at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels.

So far reports have been received from 283 farms of symptoms that could indicate infection with the Schmallenberg virus. These reports have been received from 134 sheep farms, 136 cattle farms and 13 goat farms. Tests have been carried out at 107 sheep farms, 91 cattle farms, and 9 goat farms, and the disease has since been confirmed at 72 sheep farms, 2 cattle farms and 2 goat farms. The virus has therefore been confirmed at 76 of the 283 farms, and has not been found at 131 farms. Tests are continuing at the other 76 farms.

The Russian Federation has suspended the import of sheep and goats and products derived from these animals. Mexico has suspended the import of sperm and embryos from sheep, goats and bovine animals. Argentina and China have requested more information about the virus and the situation in the Netherlands, and have been informed in writing. Experts from Russia, Germany, the Netherlands and the European Commission are scheduled to discuss the issue shortly.