Farm Ireland

Thursday 22 March 2018

Vets urged to flag suspect Schmallenberg virus signs

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Vets across the country have been urged to contact Department of Agriculture regional veterinary laboratories if they suspect any cases of Schmallenberg virus.

The disease has so far been confirmed in cattle in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as four sheep flocks in the east of Britain.

British vets suspect that farms there could have been infected by midges blown across the English Channel from affected areas in Europe.

The spread of the disease is to be discussed at a meeting of the European Commission's Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health in Brussels next week.

Meanwhile, IFA president John Bryan has urged farmers to be extremely cautious when purchasing animals of unknown origin and health status.

He said farmers and importers should resist the temptation of the perceived better value, and consider the implications an outbreak of the virus would have for the individual herd, and potentially the trade status of the national herd should the virus be introduced to Ireland.

"With a worrying lack of information available about this new virus, everybody involved in the industry has an obligation to act in a responsible manner that does not increase the risk of this virus reaching our shores and protect our national health and trade status," Mr Bryan said.

Mr Bryan said the IFA will be meeting senior Department of Agriculture officials to call for all necessary precautions to be taken to keep the virus out of Ireland.

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