820 German farms hit by 'Schmallenberg' virus: institute

Mar 02, 2012

More than 800 German farms have been hit by a new livestock disease that causes deformities in animals at birth, agriculture authorities said Friday.

Most of the 820 farms where the so-called Schmallenberg virus has been detected raise sheep, but cattle and goats are also affected, the Friedrich Loeffler Federal Research Institute of said.

On February 1, the institute said that 186 farms in Germany had been hit, up from 51 five days earlier.

Believed to be carried by gnats and named after the German town where it was first detected, Schmallenberg causes fever and in adult livestock and cannot be transmitted from one animal to another, experts say.

It can however be transmitted to sheep, goat and cow , leading to or deformities causing death soon after birth.

The institute said it believed the first infections dated to mid-2011 and stressed that the virus was not transmissible to humans.

However, the Robert Koch Institute said it had undertaken a study to check that no humans had been infected.

"We have asked sheep breeders for which are being analysed," spokeswoman Susanne Glasmacher told AFP.

"We've also addressed a questionnaire to them to find out if they had particular symptoms. But the first results reveal no illness, no fever or any particular health problem," she added.

She said the test results would have to be known first before drawing any conclusions, however.

The virus, first identified in November, has been detected in Belgium, Britain, The Netherlands, Italy and France.

Explore further: Speckled beetle key to saving crops in Ethiopia

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New disease hits Dutch, German livestock

Jan 26, 2012

A new livestock disease causing deformities at birth has been detected in at least five European countries, including the Netherlands and Germany, a Dutch agriculture ministry spokesman said Thursday.

94 French farms struck by new 'Schmallenberg' virus

Feb 14, 2012

Ninety-four farms in northern France have been hit by a novel virus, first uncovered in Germany last year, that strikes cattle, sheep and goats, a French research agency reported on Tuesday.

Environmental health risks of livestock farming

Sep 27, 2011

Emissions from livestock farms cause asthma and COPD patients living nearby to experience more exacerbations, according to research presented today at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Amsterdam.

Recommended for you

Speckled beetle key to saving crops in Ethiopia

8 hours ago

(Phys.org) —An invasive weed poses a serious and frightening threat to farming families in Ethiopia, but scientists from a Virginia Tech-led program have unleashed a new weapon in the fight against hunger: ...

New tool to assess noise impact on marine mammals

8 hours ago

A new desktop tool which will allow offshore renewable energy developers to assess the likely impacts of their projects on marine mammal populations has been developed by scientists at the University of St ...

Of bees, mites, and viruses

Aug 21, 2014

Honeybee colonies are dying at alarming rates worldwide. A variety of factors have been proposed to explain their decline, but the exact cause—and how bees can be saved—remains unclear. An article published on August ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
1 / 5 (1) Mar 02, 2012
"More than 800 German farms have been hit by a new livestock disease that causes deformities in animals at birth,..."

WOW! How does the virus work so fast? Or was something lost in translation?