UFU ask farmers to remain vigilant following latest Scmallenberg outbreak

Wednesday, 20 March, 2013

The Ulster Farmers’ Union are calling on farmers to remain vigilant and cautious following confirmation that the Schmallenberg Virus (SBV) has been found in a second calf in County Down.  The details surrounding this particular case are not yet known, however this was not unexpected given the way the virus has spread elsewhere. 

UFU President Harry Sinclair said; “We are disappointed that the Schmallenberg virus has made its way to Northern Ireland.  SBV is a non-notifiable virus, which does not have any trade implications and poses no threat to human health. The real concern for farmers is the possible losses on farm due to an increase in foetal mortality. The UFU are appealing to all farmers to stay vigilant and report any suspected cases of the virus.   We are also encouraging farmers to send animals that are displaying clinical signs of the virus to AFBI for post-mortem testing, which will be free of charge.”

“At this stage, Republic of Ireland have reported 65 cases, and this is continuing to increase.  Given the way the virus has spread in mainland GB and across the continent, we are expecting more cases as we move into spring.” 

Harry continued; “A vaccine for the virus has been developed and is currently going through the Veterinary Medicines Directorate authorisation system.  However, if on-farm losses average at 2-3% it may not be cost effective to vaccinate all stock.  Also, immunity is developed once an animal has been infected, therefore it appears that any animals affected this year will develop their own immunity and will not be affected again next year.”