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: Killer bees test a double win for Australian honeybees

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

Killer bees test a double win for Australian honeybees

2 hours ago

A genetic test that can prevent the entry of 'killer' bees into Australia and worldwide spread has been created by researchers at the University of Sydney and their collaborators at York University in Canada.

Down to three wolves on Isle Royale

21 hours ago

Only three wolves seem to remain in Isle Royale National Park. Researchers from Michigan Technological University observed the wolves during their annual Winter Study, and the lone group, at an unprecedented ...

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?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.