Sheep and livestock virus on 4 Dutch farms

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A virus which causes newborn lambs to be deformed has been discovered on four Dutch farms. nVWA has checked eight farms for the Schmallenberg virus so far, following reports from farmers nationwide of sick animals.

The farms, where the virus has been identified in adult cattle and deformed lambs, are situated in various locations from Zwolle in the north-east of the country to Maastricht in the south-east.

Investigations will be carried out on 77 farms and the results will be published on the nVWA website each day. Farmers are under an obligation to report any instances of sick animals since 20 December.

The Schmallenberg virus, named after the German location where it was first identified on 18 November, is related to a group of viruses known as ‘Orthobunya’ - usually found in Asia, Africa and Australia. The virus does not transfer directly to humans.

The disease may have been spread by gnats – a type of fly - which benefited from the warm autumn, but the nVWA expects the spread of the virus to be contained as the gnat is less active in the winter.

The nVWA authority in the Netherlands monitors food and consumer products to safeguard public and animal health and welfare. It controls the whole production chain, from raw materials and processing aids to end products and consumption.  

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