Schmallenberg believed to have spread to all counties

The Schmallenberg virus (SBV) – a low-impact disease, with the potential to cause significant losses in individual herds/flocks – may have spread throughout Ireland, new data shows.

Figures provided to AgriLand by the Department of Agriculture indicate that SBV positive test results were recorded in both cattle and sheep this year.

Of the 311 tests (Polymerase Chain Reaction) carried out on cattle, six positive results were identified. In addition, 96 tests were carried out on sheep at Regional Veterinary Labs and 38 positive results were obtained.

Data source: Department of Agriculture

County-by-county breakdown

The data also delves into where each case was identified and – between January and February – 13 cases were identified in Sligo, eight in Galway and six in Donegal.

SBV was also found in the counties of Cork, Dublin, Kerry, Kildare, Laois, Limerick, Waterford and Westmeath in 2017.

Commenting on the data, a department spokesperson said: “SBV is now believed to have effectively spread to all counties with the detection of confirmed cases in Co. Donegal.”

Data source: Department of Agriculture

Schmallenberg first hit Irish shores in 2012. It was transported by midges and affected flocks mainly in the southern and eastern parts of the country.

It’s a low-impact disease, with the potential to cause significant losses in individual herds/flocks. This is particularly the case where a substantial number of susceptible animals are infected, for the first time, at a vulnerable stage of gestation – especially where breeding is synchronised.