East Anglia: Schmallenberg ‘lamb and calf deformity’ disease shows slight increase - survey

Schmallenberg virus vaccine is launched

Schmallenberg virus vaccine is launched - Credit: PA

A disease which can lead to deformities in lambs and calves is on the increase, latest figures show.

Lamb born dead with arthrogryposis (persistent flexion of the joints) – arthrogryposis is one of the

Lamb born dead with arthrogryposis (persistent flexion of the joints) arthrogryposis is one of the congenital abnormalities associated with SBV infection (Schmallenberg Virus) - Credit: Archant

Schmallenberg virus, which arrived in Britain from the continent last year, is now present throughout the country, and 1,753 UK farms have tested positive for the disease to date.

The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) has released its latest quarterly results covering the period up to March 31 which show there have been a total of 28 confirmed cases in Suffolk, 19 in Essex, 12 in Cambridgeshire and 39 in Norfolk. In one case in Suffolk, the virus was discovered in a red deer. The figures are cumulative, which means they include those sites which tested positive last year.

This appears to show just a slight increase from the figures released in January, with two more cases in Suffolk, two more in Essex, two more in Cambridgeshire and six more in Norfolk. However, free testing for the disease came to an end at the end of December last year, so it is unlikely that these figures give the whole story.

Sheep farmers have been invited to complete an online survey, which may give a fuller picture when it is published next month.

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Farmers are advised to contact their vet if they have concerns, and vets should contact their local AHVLA centre if they need advice.

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