First case of rare virus found in Irish cattle
A RARE cattle and sheep virus has spread to an Irish herd from Europe.
The Department of Agriculture confirmed that a case of Schmallenberg Virus has been found in a cattle foetus in a Cork herd.
It is the first time the virus has ever been found here.
Vets are hopeful that the outbreak can be contained given the short infectious cycle of the virus and the fact that cold, frosty weather prevents its spread by limiting insect activity.
There is no evidence, to date, of the virus being spread directly from animal to animal except from pregnant cows and ewes to their offspring.
If a pregnant animal contracts the virus, they either abort the foetus or else give birth to partially developed or deformed calves and lambs.
The department is now investigating the source of the infection in Cork amid suspicions it may have a UK link.
The major concern is that the virus -- if it spreads -- could threaten Ireland's main lambing season in February with over three million lambs set to be born over 10 weeks.