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.

CountyPositive holdings (Sheep)Positive holdings (Cattle)
Bedfordshire10
Cambridgeshire10
Channel Islands20
Cornwall21
Devon71
Dorset40
East Sussex373
Essex111
Greater London10
Hampshire140
Hertfordshire60
Isle of Wight20
Kent374
Leicestershire10
Lincolnshire10
Norfolk164
South Gloucestershire40
Somerset30
Suffolk125
Surrey51
Warwickshire20
West Berkshire20
West Sussex353
Wiltshire72
Total21325

Readers' comments (8)

  • We have seen how this NEW virus has spread from Germany then across Holland and France to then jump the English Channel to the UK. Where is the trail leading to Germany ? Do vuruses suddenly mutate from thin air ?

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  • Yes Mr woodford Viruses do mutate suddenly other examples include Parvo virus which was a mutation of the Panleukopaenia virus that affects cats

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  • Thanks for publishing your list. It is helpful to know where the disease has been.
    K O Philippson

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  • It would seem seriously irresponsible not to make the disease notfiable. An accurate picture if it's incidence and pattern of spread leading to suitable control measures. relying on haphazard reporting to vets an direct farmer reporting is just not doo enough.
    David Hosford

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  • I'm not sure if this relevant to reporting or not - but do UK farmers have to pay for AHVLA diagnostic tests for SBV?
    Is (for example) the initial case free and subsequent suspects charged for?

    If UK farmers are told that there is no vaccine, and nothing they can do now about a midge bite which happened several months ago, why throw good money after a dead lamb or calf ?
    In other words, is this table the tip of a larger iceberg?

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  • AHVLA will test the animals for free. There's no difference between an initial or subsequent suspects.

    chive.

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  • "AHVLA will test the animals for free. "
    Thanks for that.
    Good.

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  • Newsflash NO ONE charges for a quote. No one. ANYONE will give you a free quote. Best thing to do is call a local, ideependnnt agent or three and ask them for a bunch of quotes.

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