More birth deformities as disease spreads

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The number of cases of Schmallenberg disease in the United Kingdom is continuing to rise but now there are increased numbers of deformed calves being born as a result of cattle being infected by the disease carrying midge.

Latest figures in the UK show that one of five cases now being reported in the past week involved calves born with deformities, a much higher percentage than was the case when the disease was first identified in the UK.

In total 20 cases have been recorded in cattle and 203 cases in sheep. Almost all the recorded cases in the UK are below the line between the Wash and the Severn.

The number of confirmed cases in Europe has now burst through the 2,500 mark with almost half of these (1,061 cases) being confirmed in Germany where the disease was first identified.

France has 894 cases followed by Belgium with 255 then the UK. There have been 194 cases in the Netherlands and single figure numbers in Italy, Spain and Luxembourg.