Schmallenberg virus now on 55 sheep farms and 2 goat farms

The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) has to date received reports from 204 farms of symptoms that could indicate infection with the Schmallenberg virus. These reports came from 115 sheep farms, 82 cattle farms and 7 goat farms. The virus has been confirmed on 55 sheep farms and 2 goat farms. On 76 farms tests are still being carried out. Minister for Agriculture and Foreign Trade Henk Bleker, has informed the House of the situation.

Situation in Europe

The virus has now affected a large area in Europe from West-Flanders to Northern Germany. In Germany the virus has been confirmed on 6 cattle farms and 14 sheep farms. In Belgium, 17 sheep farms have tested positive for the virus. The virus has not yet been detected in other countries. France has recently introduced compulsory notification and Germany will follow shortly. The Netherlands wishes to discuss the matter at the next agriculture council on 23 January 2012.

European Commission

The Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) complimented the Netherlands on the transparency with which it had shared its findings and on its introduction of compulsory notification. The Member States and the Commission want research into the virus to continue speedily to build a potential base for control measures. They believe monitoring guidelines for the disease need to be developed as a matter of urgency. The relevant consultations will take place in Brussels on 20 January 2012.

So far no health problems have been reported from people who have had direct contact with malformed lambs or calves. Although the risks to human health are negligible RIVM will continue work on diagnostic tests for humans.