Farms warned as virus kills lambs
Sunday 26 February 2012
A virus causing stillbirths and deformities in livestock has hit scores of British farms. Experts say cases of Schmallenberg virus, first identified in England last December, have spread to more than 70 farms from Kent to Cornwall and from the Isle of Wight to Gloucestershire.
The full effects of the virus are only now starting to appear as the spring lambing season begins and infected sheep give birth. Some infected lambs have been found dead at birth, while others have died soon afterwards.
It is feared the virus's spread could have serious consequences for meat and milk markets, with farms already warning that losing up to half their stock to stillbirths – a worst-case scenario – would put them out of business.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the virus had been identified in sheep on 69 farms and in cattle on five more. A Defra spokesman warned farmers to be vigilant.
The virus was discovered in Germany and is named after the city where it was first identified. Cases have since appeared in France, Belgium and the Netherlands; thousands of animals have been infected. The disease is believed to have spread to England via wind-born midges.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said it could not be ruled out that the virus could spread to humans.
Dolphins ‘deliberately get high’ on puffer fish nerve toxins by carefully chewing and passing them around
Outlander novelist Diana Gabaldon in battle to prevent 'industrial-scale' windfarm being built where travel series is set
Britain's bluebells now face a fight for their very survival
The top 10 weirdest animal mating rituals
Shark facts: The fearsome fish in numbers
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
- 5 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...
£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...