Scottish dairy herd free of Schmallenberg virus

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So FAR so good but watch out in the future was the message from the NFUS yesterday after it reported no positive samples in a survey as to whether the Schmallenberg virus had entered Scottish dairy farms.

The survey, covering dairy farms across the whole of Scotland, saw the Union working with SRUC and Biobest. Of the bulk milk tanks tested, 91 returned negative with five test results still outstanding.

Spread by midges, SBV was first identified on German and Dutch farms in 2011 and has since spread throughout Europe and other parts of GB. Five cases have so far been confirmed in Scotland and there is a widely held expectation that it will start to circulate here in 2013.

Exposure to SBV can result in relatively mild conditions in cattle and sheep but where infection takes place during the early stages of pregnancy, it can result in congenital disorders of lambs and calves.

Union animal health policy manager Penny Johnston said the recent low temperatures might prove to have had a limiting effect.