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Food-Producing Animals

Disease Outbreaks

Disease emergence and spread do not respect geographical boundaries. This is why it is important to have the necessary tools available to combat and control disease. Efficient early warning and forecasting of disease trends through surveillance systems is key to effective containment and control. Early intervention such as the use of vaccines during a disease epidemic often leads to better outcomes with reduced disease burden and associated economic impact.

Schmallenberg virus

Schmallenberg Virus outbreak in Europe, January 2012

An outbreak of a novel virus among cattle, sheep and goats in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK was reported in January 2012. 

In August 2011, the first clinical signs appeared in cattle including fever, reduced milk yield, and in some cases diarrhoea.

In November 2011 and in January 2012, additional clinical signs appeared as miscarriages and stillbirths associated with congenital abnormalities, mainly affecting sheep, but also cattle and goats. 

Tests carried out have identified a new virus named Schmallenberg Virus (SBV). It appears to belong to a group of viruses which are spread mainly by midges and mosquitoes, although there is no clarity as yet about the main method of transmission.

Assessments carried out by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), have so far indicated that the risk to human health from Schmallenberg Virus (SBV) appears to be very low. Farmers and veterinarians are however advised to take hygiene precautions when working with livestock

Further info

For more information please go to:

The Friedrich Loeffler Institute

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

European Commission DG SANCO

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