Schmallenberg virus detected in bovines in Denmark
In May 2012, the new animal disease, Schmallenberg (SBV), has been detected in Danish bovines. Antibodies against SBV have been detected in adult bovines, and virus has been detected in a single calf born with malformations.
Virus detected in vectors in Denmark
The new animal disease, Schmallenberg virus (SBV), has been detected in vectors in Denmark. The vectors are Culicoides midges that were collected in October 2011.
The disease affects cattle, sheep and goats, where the disease may lead to congenital malformations.
About the virus
The Schmallenberg virus is a new virus named after the location (Schmallenberg in Germany) where it was first identified. Information on its genome suggests that it is part of the Simbu serogroup of the Bunyaviridae family, genus Orthobunyavirus.
Viruses belonging to that group are mostly found in ruminants in Asia, Australia, Africa and the Middle East (Israel). The viruses are mainly transmitted by mosquitoes (Culicidae) or midges (Culicoides). Direct transmission from animal to animal has not been demonstrated except transplacental from a viremic dam to the foetus.
Milk and meat products do not pose any risk of disease transmission.
Investigations in Danish holdings
Surveillance for SBV has been ongoing in Denmark during the spring 2012. The aim of the surveillance was to obtain information about the presence of SBV in Danish ruminants. In total, 61 newborn animals with malformations were tested for SBV in the period March-May 2012. Of these, one calf tested positive.
Public health risk
Based on all available information, experts conclude that the transmission of the virus to humans cannot be excluded but is highly unlikely.