Germany makes Schmallenberg a notifiable disease
GERMANY has made Schmallenberg Virus (SBV) a notifiable disease, making it compulsory for the authorities to report diagnosed cases.
Germany has borne the brunt of the outbreak since the virus was identified there for the first time last year, with its 1,120 confirmed cases accounting for well over one-third of all cases recorded in Europe.
There are now 238 confirmed cases in the UK.
The German parliament’s upper house, which represents the country’s federal states, confirmed at the end of last week that the disease would be made notifiable with immediate effect.
The German Agriculture Ministry said the new requirement would enable veterinary authorities to obtain a ‘comprehensive overview of the epidemiological situation, to monitor the spread and to take control measures’. It said it was deploying ‘fast and tried-and-tested reporting procedures’ to obtain a daily picture of the current situation.
Germany is calling for the introduction of a reporting requirement at EU level and said the Commission had ‘promised to examine this matter accordingly’ when it was raised at the last EU Agriculture Council meeting in March.
The disease is also notifiable in the Netherlands but other member states, including the UK have not gone down this route.
A Defra spokeserson said there was no need to make the disease notifiable in the UK, given the ‘great response from farmers and the veterinary profession in voluntarily reporting suspected cases’.
This echoed the comments of Farming Minister Jim Paice when he was challenged on the subject in the Commons last month.
“We are receiving a tremendous amount of information from the private veterinary sector and, of course, samples from those in that sector and some directly from farmers, which all go into our labs for testing. At the moment, we do not see any need for notifiability, but the matter is under review,” he said.
The latest figures for the UK, released on Monday (April 2) showed there have now been 238 confirmed cases.
This represents an increase of just 15 over the past week, slightly less than in previous weeks, suggesting that, as predicted the number of confirmed cases in sheep, in particular, are beginning to slow down.
The latest figures shows 213 cases have been found in sheep and 25 in cattle. A total of 24 counties across eastern and southern England and the Midlands have been affected with Kent the worst hit with 41 cases, followed by East Sussex (40) and West Sussex (38).
TheAnimal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) says SBV infection has only been identified in areas predicted to be at risk of midge incursion from Northern Europe during last summer and autumn 2011.
It believes the virus may have then been spread within the infected areas by domestic midges that became infected after biting ‘local animals’.
Confirmed cases in UK, as of April 2.
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