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Europe scrambles to tackle outbreak of newly discovered livestock virus

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posted on Jan, 12 2012 @ 12:00 PM

European food safety officials have met to discuss the spread of a newly detected virus that is spreading through farms on the Continent.

A European Commission committee has confirmed an outbreak of the new “Schmallenberg” virus at the end of last year in cattle, sheep and goats on farms across Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.

The virus is not thought to pose a danger to humans, although health officials at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) warn the risk “cannot be completely excluded at this stage".

A meeting of the Commission's Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health yesterday was told the newly detected virus had circulated in the second semester of last year.

The disease had spread amongst amongst livestock ruminants causing non-specific clinical signs in cattle and congenital malformations, mainly in sheep and more seldom in cattle and goats.

The virus in question belongs to the Bunyaviridae family, genus Orthobunyavirus and has
been tentatively named "Schmallenberg virus", after the town it was first discovered.

This virus is spread by mosquitoes and midges although mothers have been found to pass on the virus to their unborn.

It added: “There is no evidence that the Schmallenberg virus could cause illness in humans. The Member States and the Commission took note of the preliminary assessment carried out by the
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on the zoonotic risks of the Schmallenberg virus which indicates that 'it is unlikely that this virus can cause disease in
humans, but it cannot be completely excluded at this stage'.

The report says a clear action plan should now be created “as a matter of urgency”.

I know very little of the possibility of this virus mutating or infecting humans, but that they don't know if the virus could cause illness in humans, and consider it "as a matter of urgency" is something to be alarmed about.

edit on 12-1-2012 by isyeye because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 12 2012 @ 12:16 PM
I think this is something to keep an eye on. Even if it turns out that it cannot infect humans, culling of animal herds and the possibility of infected milk would at least impact already volatile food prices. Considering Europe's economy is already a mess, a mass animal viral outbreak could just make thinks worse.

[sarcasm] Time to expedite the release of GM Mosquitoes! [/sarcasm]

posted on Jan, 12 2012 @ 12:34 PM
Agriculture just doesn't get a break does it?

posted on Jan, 12 2012 @ 12:45 PM
reply to post by isyeye

There will always be new variants of viruses popping up that will be not so bad to be really bad...we are getting lulled into a false sense of security that we should already be on top of this stuff when this is just the natural order of any virus to replicate and in some instances adapt and mutate...years past the flu shots were always modified to get an idea of what the newer strain is...and that is just a guess what will be the more popular strain...

posted on Jan, 12 2012 @ 01:36 PM
The largest dairy farm in the world now is in Saudi Arabia. It would be in their interests to have some scientists working on livestock viruses should they ever need to deploy such a weapon to keep others away.

Plus if they have the last livestock on Earth that's virus free, they've got a new post-oil income.

The Beef supply is an Achilles heal of nations.....and everyone knows it. Europe may have to start passing its beef past a Gamma Ray emitting device like America to kill virus in beef. You do know that's why Asia didn't want Americas beef right?

posted on Jan, 13 2012 @ 05:35 PM
reply to post by isyeye

Very important, good find - a virus to be watched. I think you're right - with all the emerging zoonoses, the fact that this is being pushed as a matter of "urgency" says something.


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