A newly identified disease is moving rapidly through livestock in Europe and has authorities both worried and puzzled. The disease, dubbed Schmallenberg virus for a town in west-central Germany where one of the first outbreaks occurred, makes adult animals only mildly ill, but causes lambs, kids and calves to be born dead or deformed.
The United Kingdom’s Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AVHLA) said today that the virus has been found on 29 farms in England; in the past few weeks they found it in sheep, but today announced that they have identified it in cattle as well. In mainland Europe, it has been identified on several hundred farms in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, and most recently in France. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has said that the new virus’s closest relatives do not cause disease in humans — but that other more distantly related viruses do:
The international disease-warning mailing list ProMED has collected links to all the maps of outbreaks published so far:
Agricultural media are starting to record the economic fallout, including a Russian ban on European livestock and the possibility of a ban on shipping live animals, including to livestock shows and sales.
And the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases has just posted ahead of print the first paper on the new disease.
Meanwhile, the British Veterinary Record seizes on the outbreaks to make a larger point: Finding new diseases such as Schmallenberg depends on having good disease surveillance — but in the UK, funding is about to be sharply cut.
It appears to be transmitted by midges (Culicoides spp.) which are likely to have been most active in causing the infection in the northern hemisphere summer and autumn of 2011, with animals subsequently giving birth from late 2011.
The viral vector — the thing which spreads it — is believed to be midges, small flying biting insects (Culicoides) and maybe also mosquitoes (Culicidae).
Originally posted by TheCommentator
reply to post by Sachyriel
The fact that babies are being born deformed or dead almost makes this sound like a chemical effect.
With the amount of dangerous chemicals and radiation livestock is to exposed to it is a very likely candidate.
Virsuses are made of chemicals, so viruses are merely complex chemicals with a bit of flair. However I'm not the scientist studying it, so I keep an open mind on it, however it does seem likely to be insects because it would be the simplest explanation.
Center for Disease Prevention and Control has said that the new virus’s closest relatives do not cause disease in humans
Dragonflies are among the longest distance insect migrants. Many species of Libellula, Sympetrum and Pantala are known for their mass migration. Pantala flavescens is thought to make the longest ocean crossings among insects, flying between India and Africa on their migrations. Their movements are often assisted by winds.