Positive cases of deadly virus still in Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 06:25 09 August 2012

Sheep (Picture: Defra)

Sheep (Picture: Defra)


ONE year on from last summer’s outbreak of deadly Schmallenberg virus, Hertfordshire sheep are still infected with the disease.

Despite hopes the virus would die out it appears the strain, which affects sheep and cattle, is stronger than ever with 276 UK farms reporting positive cases.

It has so far killed hundreds of animals across the south and east of England.

Figures released by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) and the Department for Rural Affairs (Defra) showed six Hertfordshire cases.

So far no cases have been found in the county’s cattle, but six cases are confirmed in sheep.

The midge-borne virus causes young cows and sheep to be either stillborn or with severe deformities.

A statement on the Defra website read: “All the evidence currently suggests that the disease was brought into the UK from infected midges blown across the Channel.

“We have seen no evidence to suggest that it was from imported livestock.

“We are closely tracking the disease and will continue to work with partners across Europe and the UK to develop our knowledge of the disease.”

Defra insisted there was no risk of the virus spreading to humans.

Despite the assertion there was a warning for farmers and vets to “take sensible hygiene precautions when working with livestock and abortion material”.

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