Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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Schmallenberg virus: further UK testing results

Schmallenberg virus (SBV) has now been identified in samples submitted from 29 farms across the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex and Hertfordshire. All of the counties where SBV infection has been identified are in the zones recognised as potentially at risk from infected midges being blown across last summer from affected areas in northern mainland Europe. Enhanced surveillance for SBV infection has been implemented across GB and the number of samples submitted to AHVLA for SBV testing continues to increase.

The current situation is in line with our current understanding of SBV, but our knowledge about this disease is developing and the area of GB considered at risk of SBV infection might increase as new information becomes available about the extent of infection in Europe.

Previously, all of the GB cases of SBV infection had been diagnosed in sheep, but AHVLA has now identified SBV in a cattle sample from a farm in West Sussex. This is the first positive cattle sample in GB and additional tests are in progress on this sample. Other affected countries have detected the virus in cattle.

At present, a Europe-wide assessment has concluded that SBV is unlikely to cause illness in people. However, as this is a new virus, work is ongoing to identify whether it could cause any health problems in humans. The Health Protection Agency has provided some questions and answers on SBV on its website.

Please see the previous AHVLA news item on the Schmallenberg virus for background information.

Further information