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Aínda o vírus de SCHMALLENBERG

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Schmallenberg virus [SBV] is likely to be around for at least another year and could spread much further across the UK, a leading animal disease expert has warned.

At a briefing in London on Thursday [1 Mar 2012], scientists outlined 2 extreme scenarios for where disease could go from here.

It is possible, according to Professor Peter Mertens from the Institute of Animal Health, under one scenario Schmallenberg may burn out given the current high levels of infection and the fact infected animals become immune to the virus.

However, he said that was probably “too good to be true” and the major concern for farmers will come when the midge season starts again in the UK later this spring [2012].

If infected midges have over-wintered or if midges pick up the virus from animals in the UK, Schmallenberg could start spreading across the country.

“This virus has the potential to spread across the whole country,” Prof Mertens said.

He also warned cattle farmers that evidence from mainland European countries showed the number of cases in calves from cows infected last year [2011] was increasing, whereas infections in sheep were decreasing. This was attributed to the cows longer gestation period
compared to sheep.

Professor Wim Van Der Pol from the Central Veterinary Institute in Wageningen UR in the Netherlands said research conducted there showed it was very unlikely that the virus could infect humans.

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