Schmallenberg virus now confirmed at 116 Dutch farms
Dutch Minister for Agriculture and Foreign Trade, Dr Henk Bleker, has notified the House of Representatives that the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) has now received reports from a total of 638 farms of symptoms that could indicate infection with the Schmallenberg virus. These reports have been received from 203 sheep farms, 409 cattle farms, and 26 goat farms. As of 22 February 2012, the virus has been confirmed at 14 cattle farms, 97 sheep farms, and 5 goat farms. Testing continues on 119 farms.
In Germany, the virus has been detected at 25 cattle farms, 577 sheep farms, and 27 goat farms. In Belgium, the virus has been found at 10 cattle farms, 116 sheep farms, and 1 goat farm. The virus has been detected at 3 cattle farms and 149 sheep farms in France and at 3 cattle farms and 49 sheep farms in the United Kingdom. Italy's first case of the virus has been reported on a goat farm, while in Luxembourg, the Schmallenberg virus has now been confirmed at a sheep farm.
Several countries have closed their borders to ruminants or genetic material from ruminants, or have raised questions about the Schmallenberg virus. In close cooperation with the private sector, the Netherlands is working to keep borders open, to reopen closed borders, and to remove trade barriers. Key principles include recommendations made by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). OIE risk assessments conclude that transmission via meat and dairy products is highly unlikely. The OIE has issued recommendations for the international trade in live animals and genetic material to continue unhindered.
Following consultation with Member States, the European Commission again stated that on the basis of current knowledge of the virus, and given its limited impact on animal health, the Commission sees no reason to impose trade restrictions within Europe.