31 - March - 2012

Schmallenberg virus (SBV), a previously unknown virus that was first detected in Germany in the November 2011, now affects large numbers of cattle, sheep and goat farms in northern Europe. France has not been spared: as of 10 February 2012, 94 sheep farms in eighteen départements of northern France were affected.

Scientists consider that contamination dates back to the summer of 2011. At the time, in the Netherlands and Germany, there were dairy cows suffering from severe diarrhoea, along with a fever and lower milk yields, although no known infectious agent or food or environmental cause had been pinpointed.

It was German laboratory that in the autumn of 2011 identified Schmallenberg virus (from the name of the German town near the first foci. Since December, many cases of foetal infections and multiple malformations in lambs and a small number of calves and kids have been seen on farms in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom and France.

The article is reprinted from CIRAD (Agricultural Research for Development)