29 March 2015 | Online since 2003



Defra warns of 2013 Schmallenberg return


The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has warned the animal health sector that the Schmallenberg virus could return by 2013.

Reports from Europe about the effects of the disease in its second year has led the National Sheep Association (NSA) to look for ways in which the UK could better equip itself to deal with the midge-borne virus.

"Anecdotal reports from France and other areas of Europe suggest Schmallenberg may be causing more problems in its second year than expected, possibly because livestock does not develop the level of immunity anticipated" said Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive.

"The lack of statistical evidence means we cannot predict if we will have an on-going problem, but the industry as a whole should be very concerned by the absence of data we have and what has been seen in some early lambing flocks."

The virus, which causes deformities in lambs and calves, was found on a farm in Hertfordshire in June.

Government agencies are only collecting data on the distance the disease has spread and do not gather any additional information once the disease has been confirmed in a county.

There is a lack of data on the level and scale of the problem - a situation that is unlikely to change because of financial constraints from the government spending review.

The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency would be forced to collect the data if Schmallenberg was a notifiable disease, but NSA believes this would not be in the interest of the industry, due to the implications it would have on trade between UK and other countries, both in the EU and further afield.

"It would be great if the Government could collect this data, so we better understood the situation and how to implement control strategies, including vaccination programmes once a vaccine is available" Stocker said.

"However, given the reality of the situation, NSA feels very strongly that industry should pull together and ensure a solution is found."

"AHVLA has expressed a willingness to advise on what information to seek from farmers, and NSA believes it and other organisations should take up this offer and offer a reporting service for sheep, beef and dairy farmers in the hope of collecting enough data to create a clearer picture."

Farmers face the loss of lambs and calves despite likely immunity in previously affected areas. The protectiveness of this remains unknown.

"We must be watchful for new cases in the currently infected areas" said Carl Padgett, President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA).

There have been around 300 new cases of the virus and Devon remains the most infected area.

Data released by the AHVLA highlight the number of current infections as 715 in cattle and sheep.

Download



Comments


No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment

To post comment without approval login or register

Display name

Please enter your name

Email (optional)
Comment

Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.

Some error on your process.Please try one more time.



Jobs


23 March 2015
Clinical Admin Coordinator
It comprises Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital, the Royal Free Hospital and more than 30 services in the community....

20 March 2015
GFW
Enthusiastic student required GFW on Dairy/Beef/Arable farm. Required to work some weekends....

23 March 2015
Design Engineer - Inventor/Solidworks - Marine Sector
They build, maintain and repair pilot boats, patrol boats, wind farm support vessels, work boats and passenger vessels for a ...

12 March 2015
IT Technician Apprentice
You can come to us for apprenticeship training in a wide range of occupations including– Agriculture, Apparel, Arboriculture,...

28 March 2015
Retail Outlet Assistant
Delamore Young Plants are currently seeking an enthusiastic and dedicated person to apply for the following position of Retai...




Top stories you may have missed
23 March 2015 | Cattle

UK butchers face difficulties to recruit...

Butchers in the UK are losing a generation through lack of training opportu...


20 March 2015 | Arable

Dust - the secret fertiliser?

NASA research has revealed how dust blown from the Sahara desert helps supp...


19 March 2015 | Arable

The Budget 2015: A Farmer's Budget?

“In the run up to the Budget 2015 most commentators were predicting that th...


17 March 2015 | News

UK's first floating solar power system l...

The UK’s first fully operational floating solar panel system has been unvei...


13 March 2015 | Animal Health

Labour and Conservatives clash over badg...

Axing the badger cull in England and Wales will save more than £120 million...


12 March 2015 | News

Solar could be cheapest energy source by...

By 2025, solar power could become one of the cheapest forms of energy in ma...


11 March 2015 | Finance

English buyers turn their attention to S...

Demand for Scottish farm land remains strong and continues to be better val...


9 March 2015 | Cattle

2020 vision for the Welsh red meat indus...

The Welsh red meat industry should aim to increase sales by at least 34 per...


6 March 2015 | News

MP raises egg industry concerns on trans...

Fears about the impact that a proposed transatlantic trade agreement could ...


Stay safe and legal when flying drones

The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Unmanned Aircraft Systems - or dron...